The public furor over the slaughter of night heron chicks on the grounds of the Oakland post office is unabated. Postal officials are trying to claim that no birds were harmed. Eye witnesses tell a different story.
The tree trimmer at the center of a federal and state investigation into the destruction of nests and slaughter of baby birds in Oakland said Thursday that he "screwed up" because he allowed his crews to chain-saw trees even as baby birds were falling out.Pulido had initially tried to deny that any birds had been harmed, but in light of the public outrage and the bad press he has changed his tune. However, the people at the post office have not.
Ernesto Pulido of Bay Point said he is so regretful now that he realizes birds were harmed that he phoned the International Bird Rescue in Fairfield and offered to pay for the care of the surviving black-crowned night herons.
U.S. postal officials continue to deny that birds were harmed in the course of the tree trimming. A postal maintenance worker observing the tree-trimming on Saturday reported that no birds were injured, said U.S. Postal Service spokesman Augustine Ruiz.It turns out that the post office was in violation of the law the begin with by not applying for a city permit to trim the city owned trees.
The injured birds at International Bird Rescue, and a dead bird photographed by The Chronicle, must have been hurt in unrelated incidents, Ruiz said.
"We would never do anything intentionally to harm any living creature," he said. "We have a very proud tradition of issuing stamps to promote the preservation and conservation of wildlife and nature."
Investigators with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state Department of Fish and Wildlife are looking into the matter, examining witnesses' photographs and videos, interviewing Pulido and witnesses and even looking at the wood chipper. Penalties include fines, depending on how many birds were harmed, and six months in jail.