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Bay Area Bird Blog » Antioch burrowing owls are being evicted
22nd 2009
Antioch burrowing owls are being evicted

Posted under activism & endangered species & local birds

This is really sad.  The City of Berkeley, and the Golden Gate Audubon Society, have been working really hard to preserve their tiny remaining population of burrowing owls (three in Cesar Chavez Park, two in the adjacent Eastshore State Park).  At the same time, over in Antioch, a developer is “evicting” burrowing owls (by installing one-way, outward-only gates on their burrows) in preparation to fumigating to kill all of the ground squirrels there, to make way for a big housing development.  Read more about it at “the birder’s report”.  At the least, there should be some kind of required mitigation to try to compensate for the loss of habitat for these birds, which are a “species of special concern” of the State of California because of rapid population decline. Please write to John McCamman the director of the California Department of Fish and Game, with a cc to Regional Director Chuck Armor  At this point they are not going to stop the project but it may not be too late for them to require mitigations; also, it is very important that they know that people out here in the real world notice and care when they drop the ball like this.

[Note added 1/5/09: I just got a request from the Department of Fish and Game, to remove the name and contact information of the DFG’s local representative, Susan Gilmore.  As you can see here, I have removed the contact info but not the name; people who make important decisions should be accountable for them. But there’s no point overwhelming her with messages if she’s not going to read them or is not supposed to read or respond to them, and I assume that’s the case here.]

3 Responses to “Antioch burrowing owls are being evicted”

  1. Annie on 01 Jan 2010 at 2:46 am #

    I just sent this email:
    To the Department of Fish and Game:
    Why are you allowing someone to evict the Antioch owls to put up yet one more housing development? In case you have not heard, THERE IS A HOUSING CRISIS AND THERE IS A SURPLUS OF HUMAN HOMES IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA! The last thing we need is more housing developments! But homes for these animals are rare.

    Even if you allow this to go through, how can you let these people POISON the resident animals? Don’t you have a way to salvage them and move them? Aren’t you supposed to be there to defend animals? How can you allow the ground squirrels to be poisoned and die in horrible pain? Don’t you people have a conscience? Will you tell your children that you allowed animals to be tortured to death? If not, then maybe you should do something.

    We did not elect a new government that was for ‘change’ so that people can go about their usual business of disposing of animals in whatever way they want. Aren’t you accountable to us? Grow a backbone and stop this torture!

  2. Edgar on 08 Jan 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    Evicting the Owls will not be that bad. The Owls will leave and find some other place to live. They may even find a better place to live that is more natural for them than some place that is close to residential homes, people, cars and etc.

    I am more concern with the economy and the people that are out of work. If homes are developed, jobs will be created and people will start to work again. Money will be made and put back into the economy.

    It’s nice that people are concerned about the Owls but they will live and find a better place. Our concern should be about creating jobs for the people who have been out of work and about making this economy better. I do care about the Owls but I am more concerned about the people who are struggling without jobs.

  3. admin on 14 Jan 2010 at 5:43 pm #

    Edgar, if the owls knew a better place, they’d be there already. There’s no basis for the claim that “they will live and find a better place”: California’s population of burrowing owls has plummeted in the past decade and continues to fall, especially in the Bay Area, which is why the burrowing owl is listed by the state as a “species of special concern.” Generally speaking, burrowing owls are not “living and finding a better place,” they are dying, or at least failing to reproduce. These particular owls…well, who can say? But the odds are not in their favor.

    If you want to argue “we’d rather build more homes in Antioch, even if that means a further decrease in the population of burrowing owls,” I think that’s a legitimate stance, although I happen to disagree with it. But what you’re saying, I just don’t think it’s true.

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