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November 16, 2008

The Birds 2008?: Woodpeckers terrorize suburban retirement community


Something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie? Well, not entirely. The woodpeckers aren’t swooping down on the seniors at this local retirement community to peck at their scalps and eyeballs, as they did in Hitchcock’s 1963 classic. They are drilling holes in the walls of homes to stash acorns, which they eat in winter months. Lots of holes in walls. A real eyesore.

Bad, bad birds--or so some would say.

Both the Contra Costa Times and the San Francisco Chronicle report that the acorn woodpeckers are doing their damage in Rossmoor, a gated, retirement community of about 9200 residents, 55 years and older, located in my hometown of Walnut Creek. Apparently, two homeowners associations are so irked by the birds, which are black and white with red on top of their heads, that they have sought permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to hire a bird hunter to kill as many as 50 woodpeckers. The Chronicle reports:

Homeowners in Rossmoor received a yearlong permit in June from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to kill up to 50 of the pesky birds in an attempt to shoo away the others. Under the terms of the permit, the homeowners must continue to seek nonlethal methods of ridding the homes of the birds.

The attempt to find nonlethal methods to address the problem pleases some residents, who don’t like the plan to “whack the woodpeckers.”

Those distressed by the birds say it's not just property damage to their homes that upsets them. It's also the fact that they drill, baby, drill throughout the day. As the Chronicle reports:

They start at dawn and sometimes several birds work at once. ... It sounds like someone outside firing off a machine gun. In addition, the birds poop everywhere, and the holes they drill invite other birds to take up residence and add their poop to the mix.






2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why is killing always the option?Sad to see that in this day in age, with all this technology that we can't find another way to get rid of them besides taking their lives.

hapamama said...

What is it with Rossmoor and wanting to kill wildlife. A few years ago, they were upset about wild turkey poop so they got a permit to shoot wild turkeys.