Removal of tree with protected birds’ nests draws investigation

Physical injury isn’t the only risk of uninformed tree care practices. Homeowners may run into legal trouble if they neglect to hire a qualified, professional tree service familiar with all the issues involved in tree care. Recently, a construction contractor in Newport Beach, California demonstrated the consequences of this knowledge gap when it felled trees home to legally protected birds, according to the Daily Pilot. 

The tree was known to provide an annual nesting spot for snowy egrets, a small white heron and black-crowned night herons, neighbors said. “They kept tearing down the tree even though all these birds were freaking out all over the place,” said one neighbor. “Birds were flying everywhere.”

Authorities declined to release the name of the construction company, citing an “active criminal investigation.”

Newport Beach animal-control officials and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are investigating the crew for a possible misdemeanor violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which protects birds throughout the United States, said animal-control officer Nick Ott. If charges are filed, those involved could face six months to a year in jail and be ordered to pay fines if convicted. The case also could be prosecuted at the federal level, officials said.

Click here to read the full story from the Daily Pilot.

Photo Credit: Shelly Ervin / May 30, 2015

One thought on “Removal of tree with protected birds’ nests draws investigation

  • I never start removing a tree if there is any hint that I might damage someone’s nest or hollow. I know that the customer will still find another arborist. But I do not like this kind of work, even if it is free to remove the tree, even though they will pay more money than they usually ask.


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