Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

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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.

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