"I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven."
Emily Dickinson

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Orphaned by tree trimmers

Acorn woodpecker nestlings. 

 Here's a good story from Gillian Martin's cavity conservation post from May 21, 2016.

Here is a story with a tragic beginning and an uncertain end.  Meet three very hungry orphaned Acorn Woodpeckers just days old.  They are being fed by Star Howard, a volunteer at the Songbird Care and Education Center in Orange County, CA.  The birds will likely remain in care for 2-3 weeks until a suitable habitat can be found for their release.  Their survival is not assured, however.

It is believed the woodpeckers were orphaned yesterday when a tree care provider working in the neighborhood of the Sierra Vista Townhomes in Hacienda Heights, CA removed the top of a tree in which the birds were nesting in a cavity.   (Woodpeckers are particularly vulnerable during spring time tree care because they nest inside the rotten sections of trees.)  The good Samaritan who found the birds on the ground soon after, contacted the rescue center.

Sadly this is a situation that owner, Vickie Anderson, and her devoted volunteers face every year between February and August when trees with nesting birds are trimmed.   The center’s indoor and outdoor rooms overflow with incubators and cages containing rescued and injured birds.  Their relentless begging voices guarantee that this is a time of sleep deprivation.   Uncountable volunteer hours are required to prep food and feed the birds every 20 minutes, to administer to their medical and other needs, and to prepare them for self sufficiency in the wild.  Price tag?  About $100 a day per bird.  Culpable tree care companies rarely contribute to this cost.

Despite the fact that federal and state regulations prohibit the destruction of bird nests or the disturbance of nesting birds, some tree care companies and their clients are unaware or inattentive to the risk to birds during this period.  Witnesses have seen tree care workers casting immature birds and their nests into chippers.  This is immensely frustrating and disturbing to those that care for and recognize the ecological value of birds.

You can help!  First, always hire professional and responsible tree care companies and ensure that they know and respect bird protection laws.  Second, whenever possible, postpone tree care till the fall and winter.   Third, you can make a tax-deductible donation to the Songbird Care and Education Center:  www.songbirdcareandeducation.org.

For more information, go to: http://cavityconservation.com.


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