Plans to shoot unwelcome California woodpeckers draw protest
Walnut Creek, Calif. (AP) — Conservationists are protesting a proposal to shoot woodpeckers that are bothering residents of a retirement community.
A homeowner’s association at the Rossmoor community has voted to go ahead with plans to kill the acorn woodpeckers. Another association will wait two months but isn’t ruling out shooting.
Residents say the birds damage homes and are a noisy nuisance.
The birds showed up at Rossmoor, a 9,000-resident community east of San Francisco, some time ago, drilling holes in homes to store nuts.
The homeowners’ associations spent more than $170,000 on a variety of bird-ridding methods, including playing records of predators killing and eating woodpeckers and hanging Mylar from the sides of houses to scare the birds.
Last summer, they got a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to hire a sharpshooter to kill 50 of the woodpeckers – a 25-bird limit for each of the two associations.
Bird lovers wrote letters asking them not to go ahead, and the California Audubon Society had been working with the associations to come up with another method. The society has proposed building granaries, softwood posts with holes, to try to lure woodpeckers away from homes.
However, after one of the associations voted 3-2 to move ahead with the shooting plan, the Audubon Society said it could not work with the groups.
“We’re incredibly disappointed that the boards of the Rosier homeowner’s groups have elected to proceed with this utterly pointless exercise,” said Graham Chisholm, director of conservation for Audubon California.
The society is asking federal officials to revoke the permit.
Maureen O’Rourke, spokeswoman for the Rossmoor community, said Wednesday that Rossmoor’s board of directors isn’t happy about the shooting proposal, but doesn’t have authority over the associations, which are among 16 such groups in the development.
Calls by The Associated Press to the homeowners’ associations were not returned Wednesday.