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Audubon California: Killing woodpeckers in Rossmoor isn’t right solution

By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, November 19th, 2008 at 7:03 am in Acorn woodpeckers, Rossmoor Retirement Community, Wildlife.

Acorn woodpecker by Brian Murphy, Walnut Creek, Calif.

Emeryville, CA — Experts with Audubon California today expressed surprise and disappointment that two homeowners associations in Rossmoor have obtained permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to kill up to 50 acorn woodpeckers that are drilling holes in homes to store food.

“Shooting the birds is a drastic and unfortunate step to take,” said Graham Chisholm, director of conservation for Audubon California. “By building homes in oak woodlands, we are put homes squarely in the woodpecker’s habitat, forcing them to find ways to get along. I know these residents feel they have tried everything to persuade the birds to not use residents’ homes, but there are better options.”

Offer of help to Rossmoor:
Chisholm offered Audubon California’s assistance in case the homeowners’ are willing to consider another option. “Acorn woodpeckers will return in months or years, even after Rossmoor kills 50 birds,” he said. “You can’t just kill every acorn woodpecker in the East Bay.”

Acorn woodpeckers are a fairly common and beloved bird in California, and are not on any list of threatened or endangered species. It is a highly social bird that is known to store food in large communal granaries drilled in oaks or other woodland trees. As housing developments have encroached into these woodlands, the creative birds have been known to drill their holes in buildings or other structures.

“It’s no accident that acorn woodpeckers are so popular among California nature enthusiasts,” added Chisholm. “It’s a beautiful, social bird that fills a unique role in the state’s ecology. Nobody wants to see them killed for just doing what they do.”

About Audubon California:
Audubon California is building a better future for California by bringing people together to appreciate, enjoy and protect our spectacular outdoor treasures. With more than 50,000 members in California and an affiliated 49 local Audubon chapters, Audubon California is a field program of the National Audubon Society.


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