OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A Bay Point tree trimmer could be facing federal charges for trimming trees outside a downtown Oakland post office earlier this month where protected birds were nesting, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigator said Wednesday.
The U.S. Postal Service hired Ernesto Pulido of Bay Point to trim the trees outside the post office at 201 13th St. on May 3 because birds that had been nesting there were defecating on mail trucks causing problems for the windshields and locks.
But Fish and Wildlife investigators said that Pulido should have known better because trimming trees with nesting birds is usually a crime under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which protects all but three bird species in California.
The misdemeanor charges recommended could result in a maximum penalty of six months incarceration and a $15,000 fine, Assistant Special Agent in Charge Dan Crum said Wednesday.
A separate investigation by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife is still in progress, Crum said.
Crum said that the investigation did not find any evidence that the landscapers had killed any of the birds either when they fell to the pavement or by being put through a wood chipper, as initial reports had suggested.
Pulido identified himself as the contractor who had done the work and expressed remorse once reports of the injured birds had surfaced.
Five herons ranging between one and three weeks old were treated at an International Bird Rescue facility in Fairfield for injuries consistent with falling from a nest, bird rescue spokesman Andrew Harmon said earlier this month.
The herons mainly suffered scrapes and bruises and one had a fractured beak, but that they were expected to recover and be released to the wild, Harmon said.
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