Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

News

Tree Full Of Baby Birds Destroyed To Make Way For Development

LAist relies on your reader support, not paywalls.
Freely accessible local news is vital. Please power our reporters and help keep us independent with a donation today.

An Orange County engineering company may have broken state laws when they cut down a 50 year-old ficus tree that was filled with nests of protected baby birds.

Seven young snowy egrets and black crown night herons were rescued after suffering injuries when an excavator knocked down the tree in Newport Beach last Thursday, according to CBS L.A. Residents managed to rescue some of the birds that fell to the ground during the demolition, though they estimate that there were dozens of nests in the tree and many of the young birds who were unable to fly likely died. While the birds are not endangered, as migratory birds they are protected under state laws that are based on the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Newport Beach’s Animal Control department and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are investigating whether the company responsible for the demolition project, Tim Greenleaf Engineering, did actually violate the law. Daniel Broome, a company spokesperson, told the O.C. Register that they were not aware of any environmental restrictions on the trees and had all the necessary city and state approvals. "We're not happy about how the crew responded to neighbors or how the wildlife was handled," Broome explained. "This whole thing is raising issues internally in our company and pushing us to be a better citizen in the area."

The YouTube video below shows residents attempting to rescue the fallen birds and placing them in cages, which were later brought to the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center of Orange County in Huntington Beach for care. The rescuers can be seen gathering the birds from the fallen branches cut down by the company and asking crew members to at least shake the branches before cutting them. While reports haven't revealed exactly why the tree was being torn down, the video shows a "Coming Soon" sign on the construction site where the tree stood, which looks to be a residential development. Residents held a memorial on Sunday for the birds that died or were displaced by the tree demolition.

Support for LAist comes from