Thursday, April 18, 2013

CLIFF SWALLOWS ARE DYING in Caltrans netting under Petaluma River Bridge

Cliff Swallows - state and federally protected - are dying in Caltrans netting under Petaluma River Bridge.

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Wildlife advocates decry bird deaths in netting at Petaluma highway project

Swallows caught and dead in the nets under the Highway 101 bridge over the Petaluma River in Petaluma on Thursday, April 11, 2013.

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Petition: Caltrans, USFwS, California Dept of Fish & Wildlife: Take down the bird-killing netting under the Petaluma River Bridge

The California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) has placed exclusion netting underneath the Petaluma River Bridge. The purpose of the netting is to stop migratory Cliff Swallows from nesting at a site they have flown 6000 miles to reach. A site where they have nested for generations. The birds become caught in the netting and die a slow death as they struggle to get free. The subcontractor, C.C. Myers, Inc., who put up the netting, and CALTRANS, are violating the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty which forbids the killing of migratory birds unless a "take" permit is granted by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. CALTRANS has no such permit. Sadly, the agencies tasked with enforcing this law have chosen to "look into it" instead of requiring the removal of the netting while a new solution is worked on. Over 100 birds are known dead, as of April 15, 2013. Many more have died and not been counted because every night the C.C. Myers company uses a boom truck to send its workers out over the Petaluma River, up 100', to remove the bodies and reattach the netting. This is destruction of evidence in a criminal case that they should be charged with. We demand that CALTRANS TAKE DOWN THE NETS NOW! Watching a bird struggling in a net, while surrounded by its dead flock mates, is a heart wrenching sight, and an act of animal cruelty, in addition to the violations of the Migratory Bird Treaty. All attempts to contact CALTRANS have been met with a wall of silence, our enforcement agencies, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, and US Fish & Wildlife Service have the power to make this stop and have chosen not to do so. We demand an end to the killing of these beautiful birds who benefit all of us by their copious consumption of flying insects, such as mosquitoes.

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