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Bird-safe building bill introduced in Anne Arundel County aims to reduce window collisions

Warning – if you’re saddened by dead bird photos, skip this article

A bird-safe building bill has been introduced by Anne Arundel Councilwoman Lisa Rodvien – if passed, it would make Anne Arundel County the second county in Maryland, after Howard, taking action to reduce window collisions, a problem that kills and/or injures a lot of birds.

According to the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) website, “Each year up to 1 billion birds die after hitting glass surfaces in the United States.”

A 2014 study done by Smithsonian’s Migratory Bird Center and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Migratory Birds found, “Building collisions, and particularly collisions with windows, are a major anthropogenic threat to birds, with rough estimates of between 100 million and 1 billion birds killed annually in the United States. However, no current U.S.
estimates are based on systematic analysis of multiple data sources. We reviewed the published literature and acquired unpublished datasets to systematically quantify bird–building collision mortality and species-specific vulnerability. Based on 23 studies, we estimate that between 365 and 988 million birds (median ¼ 599 million) are killed annually by building collisions in the U.S., with roughly 56% of mortality at low-rises, 44% at residences, and ,1% at high-rises. Based on .92,000 fatality records, and after controlling for population abundance and range overlap with study sites, we identified several species that are disproportionately vulnerable to collisions at all building types.”

Other places in United States and beyond have passed similar, bird-safe building laws including San Francisco, Toronto and New York City.

Rodvien’s bill incorporates a threat factor rating system developed by ABC and a team of architects.

Birds only see the reflection on windows, not the glass itself – they fly into glass thinking there’s nothing between them and the trees, bushes or sky.

Shortly after the bill was introduced in Anne Arundel County, Cheryl Thomas found a golden-crowned kinglet at the base of a commercial official building at 888 Bestgate Road in Annapolis – a building with a lot of reflective glass.

Photo courtesy of Cheryl Thomas

Twitter user @JennDeLMck also saw a window collision victim recently at 888 Bestgate. She Tweeted, “I saw a dead bird there the other morning that had obviously struck the window. It was a migrating warbler :(”

Nancy Tait emailed, “For years I was part of a group that worked out around sunrise at Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s beach off Herndon in Annapolis. This gorgeous warbler was the first black throated blue warbler I’d ever seen – victim of a window strike at their glassed Bay-view building. Pic is not great but I was in the midst of a workout when I saw it!”

Photo courtesy of Nancy Tait

According to Tait, “The black throated blue warbler was seen on May 2, 2015. We saw other birds over time there: a ruby throated hummingbird, a Carolina chickadee, and at least two or three others. We were there 3-4 times a week for about 8 years.”

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Annapolis headquarters building, located on the Severn River in Annapolis, is called the Philip Merrill Environmental Center – it opened in 2001 with a lot of eco-friendly design elements, but bird collisions still happened.

The building has since been outfitted with additional protection to guard against bird collisions.

“We don’t get bird strikes at the Merrill Center,” explained from Willy Agee, CBF’s vice president of administration “We put silhouettes on the windows years ago. It’s not a problem here.”

Window collisions aren’t just an issue for songbirds.

In March 2020, a red-shouldered hawk was injured after colliding with a window at an office building on Somerville Road in Annapolis. Owl Moon Raptor Center Volunteer Nancy McDonald rescued the bird.

In July of this year, a Cooper’s hawk died after a colliding with a window at Severna Park High School – the school opened in 2017, replacing an older school. The new design features a lot of glass at the school’s entrance, where the hawk was found.

Photo courtesy of Katrina Williams

While Rodvien’s bill addresses new construction of non-residential buildings, there are preventive measures that can be incorporated on all buildings, including bird-safe glass, film/decals/tape and other options.

In 2018, the Annapolis headquarters of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources was outfitted with Acopian BirdSavers – paracord at the recommended guidelines to reduce the number of birds from flying into windows. Bird collisions had been an ongoing issue at DNR for years before the install.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Department of Natural Resources

A program of the National Audubon Society called Lights Out, which has a nationwide network, including in Baltimore, is focused on preventing bird collisions with buildings.

According to the Light’s Out Baltimore Facebook page, “Our goal is to make Charm City safe for migratory birds by turning out decorative lighting in the city during peak migration seasons, between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., and to advocate for bird-safe building design that makes glass and windows visible to birds. A core group of volunteers walk downtown Baltimore during fall and spring migration to rescue injured birds from window collisions and collect dead birds. Injured ones are taken to Phoenix Wildlife Center and dead ones are taken to the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum. Lights Out Baltimore strives to advocate for bird-friendly building design, making glass bird-friendly, and educating the public about bird collisions.”

The windows at the Patuxent Research Refuge visitor’s center in Laurel were outfitted with perforated film that appears completely transparent when looking out the windows. The project was done by Lights Out Baltimore, with support from the Baltimore Bird Club, Friends of Patuxent Research Refuge and Patuxent Research Refuge.

Photos courtesy of Lynne Parks/Lights Out Baltimore

Lights Out Baltimore will be starting an install at Arlington Echo, Anne Arundel County Public Schools outdoor education center, in late November.

A public hearing for the bird-safe building bill will be held November 15 at 7 pm at the Arundel Center’s County Council Chambers, 44 Calvert Street, Annapolis. Testimony from the public begins at 6:30 pm.

For those interested in providing testimony (in person or online), sign up in advance here – https://www.aacounty.org/services-and-programs/county-council-meeting-participation?fbclid=IwAR31QuMbzweucZTj7T5z7xVOqCHVJqa4ky3zvTQF08dDtBFVCTCqoHfYUSI

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Update (November 17, 2021) – the bird-safe building bill was defeated at the Anne Arundel County Council meeting on November 15. Councilwoman Rodvien (the sponsor of the bill) and Councilwoman Lacey voted for it, the rest of the council voted against it.

Update (November 5, 2021) – Councilwoman Rodvien replied to request for statement. She wrote, “

I learned about this issue from a fellow legislator and friend, Deb Jung, who serves on the Howard County Council. She introduced – and with her colleagues passed – legislation to require builders to use materials and designs that deter birds from flying into windows and buildings.  As you may know, a 2017 study indicated that the bird population in North America dropped from roughly 10 billion birds in 1970 to about 7 billion birds in 2017. This represents a roughly 30% decline in our nation’s bird population and is a staggering loss.  That raises the questions: why should we care?  and what can we do? I’ll start with the first question: besides the fact that birds reflect an enormously diverse slice of the animal kingdom, are beautiful to see and hear, and simply amazing creatures, birds play an important role in our ecosystem.   They play an important role in our ecosystems by keeping insect populations in check.  This is good for farmers who fight insects/pests as well as anyone who enjoys outdoor activities. Birds also serve as pollinators, help disperse seeds, and participate in scavenging carcasses.  They can also serve as a food source for humans and other animals.

So what does this have to do with my legislation?  As many as one billion birds die every year from window strikes.  As many as 500 million more are injured.  Changes in designs and materials can stop bird collisions altogether.  Many of these changes are free or extremely low cost.  Asking builders to make small, low-cost or no-cost changes can make an enormous difference in the number of birds in our ecosystem.  Furthermore, those same changes often dramatically increase energy efficiency, affording big savings in heating and cooling costs.  This is common sense legislation that is good for our ecosystem, our environment, and our pocketbooks.”

Donna L. Cole is an award-winning investigative and multimedia reporter. In her spare time, she’s a volunteer bird of prey rescuer.




Two ospreys dead after tornado in Edgewater and an eagle nest damaged

Fortunately no humans were killed as a result of the EF-2 tornado that hit Edgewater and Annapolis Wednesday with 125 mph winds, however the same can not be said for birds – in Edgewater, one osprey died from its injuries, another was euthanized because its injuries were too severe and an unoccupied bald eagle nest was damaged.

Those are just the birds that are known about.

The osprey that died almost immediately after the tornado was found on the sidewalk near PNC Bank on Solomons Island Road in Edgewater, directly across the street from an osprey nest.

A video shows the tornado approaching the same area with a juvenile osprey in the nest – it’s believed this might have been the same osprey that was killed.

Joshua Giles, of Solomons Island, was driving, saw the bird on the sidewalk, realized it shouldn’t be on the ground and stopped to help it.

Giles contacted Suzanne Shoemaker, director of Owl Moon Raptor Center – she asked if he could bring the bird to me.

Full disclosure – I’m a volunteer bird of prey rescuer for Owl Moon Raptor Center and I live in Edgewater.

The bird was dead by the time it arrived at my house.

It was an extremely sad moment as Giles and I stood in my garage while I quickly examined the lifeless bird – it appeared to have impact injuries.

Shortly before Giles arrived, another call had come in for another osprey.

Just north of the first incident and on the north side of the South River bridge, Deborah Schneider, a homeowner in the Shadow Point neighborhood posted on Facebook requesting help with a downed osprey in her backyard. This neighborhood was also in the direct path of the tornado and had a lot of downed trees.

I was tagged on the post and I made contact with Schneider.

I told her I would respond as soon as it was safe to do so – torrential rain and wind were still an issue.

A lull in the storm allowed me just enough time to travel the one mile between my house and Shadow Point.

Schneider had originally told me to look for her mailbox with the address on it – she then realized the mailbox had been taken down by the tornado. She also provided me a pair of boots – neither of us had realized the extent of the damage in Shadow Point and I was wearing shorts and sneakers.

Shadow Point neighborhood of Edgewater immediately after the EF-2 tornado
Some of the debris we had to climb through to get to the osprey in the Shadow Point neighborhood of Annapolis after the tornado.

With boots on and Schneider’s son, Gary Mitchell, leading the way, it took approximately 10 minutes to get to the osprey because of downed trees and debris in the way.

In a relatively unscathed corner of Schneider’s fenced backyard was the osprey. I quickly grabbed it and again, with the help of Mitchell, we climbed over downed trees and branches and got the the bird to my car.

Injured osprey in the Shadow Point neighborhood of Edgewater after the tornado.
Screenshot from video by Deborah Schneider.
Donna Cole rescuing a downed osprey in the Shadow Point neighborhood of Edgewater after the tornado. Screenshot from video by Deborah Schneider.

Because it was unsafe for anyone to travel Wednesday evening, the osprey was transported by fellow volunteer, Angela Mitchell, Thursday morning to Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research in Newark, De.

According to Lisa Smith, executive director of Tri-State, “Unfortunately, both the radius and ulna were badly fractured near the carpal joint, and the bird was euthanized.”

She added, “Thank you for rescuing this bird – it would have died a slow, painful death in the wild. Sometimes the best we can do is relieve their suffering.”

With the amount of trees down in Schneider’s yard, it’s not surprising the bird had severe injuries.

Schneider said it took, “seven guys seven hours” to clean up the debris.

She said an eagle nest she can see from her backyard was also damaged – eagle nesting season is over for this year and they will have time to rebuild or relocate in advance of next year – if they survived.

Schneider texted she’s, “A little concerned that I haven’t seen or heard them since the tornado.”

This is a video of the tornado as it crossed the South River – the narrator said “I just saw the leaves blowing and the birds just kind of going haphazard … they’re all sucked into it.”

Backing up in time, Wednesday morning had started off fairly quiet, At 12:13 pm, I got a call from Tri-State Bird Rescue and Research about an injured osprey in Queen Anne’s County. I knew I had a little time before the bad weather started to move in so I went.

I arrived at Piney Narrows Yacht Haven at 12:59 pm and quickly rescued that bird. I took it to the US-301 Bay Country Rest Area in Centreville, where I transferred it a Tri-State volunteer transporter who would transfer it to another volunteer transporter in Middletown, De., who would deliver it to Tri-State. Yes, these rescues/transports often require a lot of helping hands.

Donna Cole rescues an osprey at Piney Narrows Yacht Basin Wednesday before the bad weather. Courtesy photo.

I was in the car in Kent Narrows when I got the call from my daughter who told me she had just gotten the tornado warning.

I was on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge when I saw the tornado in the area of the South River – not far from my house. I called my daughter back to ensure she and our dog were in the basement and I stayed on the phone with her until I got home – I was panicked for her, but I didn’t tell her why or that I had seen the tornado and this was a horrible feeling.

From my house to Shadow Point is about a mile. From my house to the area of Annapolis that got hit badly is a little under two miles.

We were lucky we didn’t have damage/destruction, but others weren’t so lucky – here’s how you can help them.

Although I’ve been rescuing birds for over two years, I had, fortunately, not encountered any dead birds until this tornado. I wasn’t even sure what to do with the dead osprey that was brought to me – there is a protocol for eagles, but not ospreys.

I asked Shoemaker – she said to return it the wild, in the woods, where it can benefit other wildlife.

Every time I drive by the osprey nest on Solomons Island Road, I look for the ospreys – it was getting late in the season for a bird to still be in the nest and I’d comment to my daughter each time that it should be going south to its winter home.

On Saturday, I had emailed BGE’s Communications Manager Richard Yost, about that nest – when ospreys nest on BGE’s equipment, it’s can be dangerous for the birds and the equipment.

I also alerted Yost that the osprey guard next to the nest platform at the base of the northside of the South River Bridge was hanging down.

In other words, these birds mean a lot to me.

The osprey killed in the tornado was returned to the wild in the woods in my backyard.

As for the osprey I rescued in Queen Anne’s County before the storm hit, Smith emailed, “It had a large, single-barbed fishing hook embedded in the skin over the left wing, with fishing line wrapped around the wing and entangled in the primaries. There was some swelling of the soft tissues, but overall, I think it has a good prognosis.”

Fortunately there’s no shortage of news reports about tornado damage incurred by humans – those reports can help the National Weather Service classify the intensity of the tornado and can communicate how others can help those who suffered losses.

There is, however, a shortage of information about what happens to birds and other wildlife during tornadoes – I’ve now seen it.

Donna L. Cole is an award-winning investigative/multimedia reporter. She’s also a volunteer bird of prey rescuer.




Calvert County Administrator signed agreement okaying euthanasia of juvenile ospreys

Who’s to blame for two juvenile ospreys being euthanized in late July in Calvert County so that maintenance could be done on ball park lights?

Calvert County officials have consistently maintained, since this to story came to light (I was the first to report the birds were euthanized), they didn’t know the birds would be euthanized under an agreement they signed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services (USDA APHIS WS).

Let’s take a look at that agreement.

Maybe Calvert County Administrator Mark Willis didn’t read what he signed? Maybe he missed the part in the agreement that states, “If relocation of the nest is not possible or deemed appropriate, then WS will dispose of the eggs or young.”

Or maybe he thought he’d be consulted once USDA APHIS WS had the agreement signed and their employee was on the lift taking the birds?

So, who’s to blame?

The birds being taken from the nest and subsequently euthanized would have happened had Calvert County not requested help from APHIS.

It doesn’t matter what Calvert County had seen in the past, as mentioned in a recent Washington Post article about the incident – this agreement, signed by Willis, gave USDA APHIS WS the authority the euthanize the birds.

The birds might not have been euthanized had Calvert County done any due diligence about USDA APHIS or the agreement they signed. I wrote about this in a recent editorial.

And it would not have happened if APHIS WS wasn’t getting blanket depredation permits approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

As for the excuse that an osprey nest was posing a hazard to humans – until someone can show evidence of anyone being injured or killed by an osprey nest, that excuse just doesn’t fly.

Thanks to Chris Hoffman for the photos he shared that originally brought all of this to light. And for sharing the photos with me also.

Donna L. Cole is an award-winning investigative and multimedia reporter. She’s also a volunteer bird of prey rescuer.




Editorial: public outrage following euthanasia of ospreys is warranted. I’m outraged and heartbroken too.

In an inexplicable act of cruelness, the federal government euthanized two juvenile ospreys in Calvert County Monday and while officials have offered statements that attempt to explain why it was done, many people remain outraged – I am one of them.

Calvert County officials have released multiple statements in the wake of two juvenile ospreys being euthanized because of maintenance to ball park lights at Cove Point Park in Lusby – this after the county itself “requested assistance” from the arm of a federal agency that often kills wildlife.

The first of these statements reads, “Calvert County requested assistance with removal of an osprey nest from a light pole from USDA APHIS-WS, as the location of the nest posed a risk to the health and safety of people, including youth, using the ball fields at Cove Point Park.”

What risk to humans does an osprey nest on a light pole pose?

A branch/stick might fall on or near a human, but I’m not entirely sure this has ever happened.

It’s also possible during a high wind storm, such as a hurricane or tornado, that a nest could be blown down and a human could be hit with many sticks/branch or maybe even a juvenile osprey.

Normally, humans aren’t using ball fields during high wind storms, such as hurricanes or tornados.

Even during the tornado that hit Edgewater in 2020, the one that took out the South Riverkeeper’s boat, the osprey nest at the base of the South River Bridge remained perfectly fine – the ospreys had likely already migrated south.

Calvert County’s statement continued, “USDA Wildlife Services determined that nest relocation was not possible. Newer light poles being installed include osprey nesting platforms to more safely accommodate the presence of ospreys at county parks. These platforms have already been installed at Dunkirk District Park, Hallowing Point Park and Cove Point Park and are in use by osprey at these locations.”

Cove Point Park in Lusby. Calvert County photo.

Following receipt of this statement, Calvert County was asked, “The next question that everyone will ask is why couldn’t this wait until the juvenile ospreys fledged?”

No reply was received.

The reason no reply was received was likely because no one has a good answer. There is no rational answer – the light maintenance could’ve waited.

Ospreys migrate to Maryland and other points north in early spring to mate, have young and raise them before moving back to southern areas in the late summer, early fall.

While in Maryland, ospreys construct their nests and do constant maintenance on them, mate, sit on eggs and finally, if the eggs hatch, they feed their chicks until the birds are old enough to fledge. This is a laborious process that only happens once a year.

Calvert County officials admitted they “requested assistance with removal of an osprey nest from a light pole from USDA APHIS-WS.”

But what due diligence did the county do before requesting assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services?

According to its website, “The mission of USDA APHIS Wildlife Services (WS) is to provide Federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist.”

A large part of resolving “wildlife conflicts” means eradicating wildlife and the APHIIS Wildlife Services is given that authorization by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) – even with migratory birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

According to a release from Center for Biological Diversity and using data directly from APHIS, ” The arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture known as Wildlife Services killed approximately 1.2 million native animals in 2019, according to new data released by the program this week.”

The release states, “According to the latest report, the federal program last year intentionally killed 301 gray wolves; 61,882 adult coyotes, plus an unknown number of coyote pups in 251 destroyed dens; 364,734 red-winged blackbirds; 393 black bears; 300 mountain lions; 777 bobcats; 124 river otters plus 489 killed “unintentionally”; 2,447 foxes, plus an unknown number of red fox pups in 94 dens; and 24,543 beavers.”

The release continues, “According to the new data, the wildlife-killing program unintentionally killed more than 2,624 animals in 2019, including bears, bobcats, mountain lions, a wolf, foxes, muskrats, otters, porcupines, raccoons and turtles. Its killing of non-target birds included ducks, eagles, swallows, herons and turkeys.”

Yes, it is illegal for everyone else to kill these birds, but it’s okay for APHIS Wildlife Services to do it and as in this case, they did it without input from wildlife rehabilitation facilities that would have been able to keep the ospreys until they were ready to fledge or renest them at another location with another set of parents (this is done regularly with success).

Information about APHIS Wildlife Services is easily accessible on the internet. In other words, it’s not a secret what APHIS Wildlife Services does or how they do it.

I don’t want to give the impression that APHIS Wildlife Services only kills wildlife.

This interview with APHIS Wildlife Services personnel, which was done in August of last year is about the invention of a device, which reduces the number of collisions between vehicle and deer, was done in August 2020.

Calvert County released another statement, this one to the public, following outrage over the euthanasia of the juvenile ospreys. The blame was put on USDA APHIS Wildlife Services or as stated, “Calvert County Government was not consulted or informed as to why or how the decision was made to euthanize the juveniles in the nest rather than relocate.”

In other words, Calvert County requested help and had an agreement with the arm of a federal agency that often kills wildlife, while still maintaining “the presence of the nest could endanger visitors.”

Cathy Lemp, of Rockville, was outraged over the euthanizing of the ospreys.

She sent sent an email to Calvert County Administrator Mark Willis stating, “I volunteer with a raptor rehabilitator in Montgomery County that would have been happy to help ensure these ospreys fledged successfully, and there is simply no excuse for this sort of wanton destruction of our precious wildlife. I urge you to prevent anything like this from happening again.”

Willis replied, “While I appreciate your personal opinion, it was wrongly directed.  However, as the County Administrator, I will take responsibility to ensure the federal agency that conducted this action is consulted.  This type of maintenance has occurred in the past and in those cases, the raptors were placed in proper care until release.  We had no reason to believe this would not be the case here.  Like you, I believe in protecting all wildlife.”

The email thread continued back and forth, with Lemp apologizing to Willis and he replied to her.

“No apologies necessary … I love the passion.  Please know that we have already pushed back on the USDA folks to follow our county’s “no kill” desires.  While I realize there may be a time when an animal may require euthanasian (1.), this was clearly not one of them.  We have raptor experts on staff that could and will in the future manage situations of this nature…until such time as a more humane solution is found.

1.       The painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma.

Keep up the fight and know that I and the Board of County Commissioners support correcting this situation.”

Mark Willis

Calvert County Administrator

With these statements, Calvert County is creating more questions than answers, as is the revelation that they have “raptor experts.”

Was there any due diligence done by Calvert County about what APHIS Wildlife Services does? About osprey behavior or when they fledge? Or even a call placed to their “raptor experts?”

I’ve seen mention, though I don’t know for sure, that the nest has been on this light pole for years.

But let’s say this was just a recent decision by Calvert County. The birds begin to nest in spring. If maintenance is needed do it before or after nesting season – it’s as simple as that.

Why, with less than a few weeks, from when these birds would’ve fledged, couldn’t this work wait?

The bottom line here – don’t hire a hit man if you don’t want someone killed (don’t hire a hit man period – it’s illegal).

Chris Beasley, of Calvert County, sent an email to APHIS Wildlife Services with several questions. He forwarded me the response received from David S. Reinhold, wildlife biologist and director, operational support.

“Thank you for contacting Wildlife Services (WS) and for your concern about the osprey nest and the immature birds removed from Cove Point Park earlier this week.  WS provides federal leadership and expertise to resolve conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist.  The WS program uses an integrated approach to solving conflicts, such as those associated with osprey, and considers a wide range of lethal and non-lethal methods. We respect your concerns and appreciate the opportunity to respond.     

At the request of Calvert County Parks (CCP), a WS biologist removed an osprey nest with immature birds located on a light fixture at CCP’s Cove Point Park in Lusby, MD.  The County requested the removal due to human health and safety and property maintenance concerns. WS removed the nest and euthanized two immature birds under the authority of a depredation permit issued to Wildlife Services by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.  WS estimated the immature birds to be 30-days of age and not close to fledging. 

WS works closely with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the US Fish and Wildlife Services to ensure sound management decisions.  Osprey population recovery has been a conservation success in this region. Once nearly extirpated before the 1970s due to use of certain pesticides, the Chesapeake Bay area is now home to more than 2,000 nesting pairs.  As trained and dedicated wildlife management professionals, WS carefully considers the decision to remove individual birds and lethal removal is done with consideration for the population of the species as a whole.  

WS appreciates the outpouring of offers to assist with rehabilitation and/or transport to a rehabilitator.  WS has a history of working successfully with rehabilitation programs and will partner with third party entities with permitted authority, as appropriate, to handle migratory birds in future projects.”

David S. Reinhold

wildlife biologist and director, operational support.

In other words, APHIS Wildlife Services rationale was because there’s enough ospreys right now, we can kill the babies after the osprey parents successfully made the trip from their winter homes (possibly as far away as South America) to Maryland, then readied their nest, then successfully mated, then successfully laid eggs, then successfully incubated the eggs, then successfully saw the chicks hatch, then successfully raised their chicks – just short of fledging.

They just saw no need to contact a wildlife rehabilitator who have ability to renest/relocate juvenile ospreys.

Make no mistake, this was cruel and completely unnecessary.

With all the outrage, many have asked who to contact that might be able to help prevent it from happening again.

An email from a reader asks, “Why don’t you put any links in your article so people can complain? The tone of the article was obviously one of derision so why not give out the contact info of all the people that participated so other people can voice the contempt.”

I appreciate the question and the desire to know who to direct your questions and complaints to about the euthanasia of the two ospreys.

In a news story, the job of a journalist is to present the facts and I did that with the article that brought this story to light. I can’t tell you that you should complain – that would be biased and we’re supposed to be unbiased.

In an editorial, we can share opinions. This is an editorial.

As for my opinion, I’m outraged, horrified and so very heartbroken this happened. This warrants people letting their elected representatives and bird-related conservation organizations know how you feel.

That said, I don’t have the time to look up contact information for all of these people and nonprofits. In addition to being a journalist, I’m a busy mom and a bird of prey rescuer. I do this stuff every day. During osprey fledging season (which it is), it’s been nonstop busy and on top of that, there’s a neurological issue impacting hawks – I’ve been rescuing those too.

This morning (Friday), I’ve just returned from two, juvenile osprey rescues.

Waterlogged juvenile osprey I rescued recently in Crownsville

But since people want to know who to reach out to, elected officials at the federal and county levels, as well as bird-related conservation organizations, would my best suggestions. This is not a state issue.

At the local level, the Calvert County Administrator seems to be responsive to emails.

At the federal level, this would be those serving in Congress. You can look up who these are here.

Two government agencies were directly involved – Calvert County and USDA APHIS Wildlife Services.

The USFWS gives authority to APHIS Wildlife Service to do what they do.

An email I sent to USFWS states, “A lot of people, including me, would like to know what part, if any, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service played in this decision? If USFWS was aware of it, why couldn’t this wait two weeks for the birds to fledge? And if USFWS wasn’t consulted, will there be any action now?”

This will be updated if a response is received. I’m told one is forthcoming.

Update – the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided the following:

“Here are the responses to your questions from our Migratory Birds program:

Q. What part, if any, did the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service play in this decision? 

R. Beyond issuing an annual depredation permit to MD USDA Wildlife Services, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service did not play a direct role in this decision. 

Q. If USFWS wasn’t consulted, are you planning any follow-up action? 

R. We are working closely with USDA and evaluating the situation to address any potential issues.”  

Donna L. Cole is a award-winning investigative and multimedia reporter who works for WNAV News. She’s also a volunteer bird of prey rescuer.




The killing of bald eagles on Maryland’s Eastern Shore – the history of a dirty little secret

In February 2016, 13 dead bald eagles were found on a farm field in Federalsburg, Md. and stories were seen about it around about it the world.

A few weeks later, more dead bald eagles were found in Sussex County, De.

After the initial stories were shared and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said humans were responsible, no charges would be filed and they were closing the Federalburg case, reporters seemed to lose interest in following up on the story.

I didn’t and since 2016, I’ve continued reporting on the issue.

These are the articles I wrote in order from the earliest to the most recent:

13 reasons why I didn’t give up on the bald eagle story – https://www.annapoliscreative.com/thirteen-reasons-why-eagles/

Opinion: An epidemic the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service doesn’t want you to know about – https://www.annapoliscreative.com/opinion-an-epidemic-the-u-s-fish-and-wildlife-service-doesnt-want-you-to-know-about/

Confirmed link in some of the bald eagle poisonings – https://www.annapoliscreative.com/confirmed-link-in-some-of-the-eastern-shore-bald-eagle-poisonings/

New information in Eastern Shore bald eagle poisonings – https://www.annapoliscreative.com/new-information-in-eastern-shore-bald-eagle-poisonings/

Though bald eagle cases have been happening for years, a law that could help was never enacted in Maryland – https://www.annapoliscreative.com/though-bald-eagle-poisoning-cases-have-been-happening-for-years-a-law-that-could-help-was-never-enacted-in-maryland/

The ‘Carbo Wars’ – https://www.annapoliscreative.com/the-carbo-wars/

Carbofuran Possession Bill to be Introduced to Maryland General Assembly  – https://www.annapoliscreative.com/carbofuran-possession-bill-to-be-introduced-to-maryland-general-assembly/

“How many dead bodies do you want us to bring you before you take action” – https://www.annapoliscreative.com/how-many-dead-bodies-do-you-want-us-to-bring-you-before-you-take-action-carbofuran-loophole-bill-hopes-to-safeg/

Public health concern left in wake of eagle poisonings in Maryland – carbofuran loophole bill delayed – https://www.annapoliscreative.com/public-health-concern-left-in-wake-of-eagle-poisonings-in-maryland-carbofuran-loophole-bill-delayed/

11 eagles poisoned in 2019 Chestertown case found on property used as regulated shooting area – https://www.annapoliscreative.com/11-bald-eagles-poisoned-in-2019-chestertown-case-found-on-property-used-as-a-regulated-shooting-area/

Bald eagles in 2016 Delaware case poisoned by carbofuran – https://www.annapoliscreative.com/bald-eagles-in-2016-delaware-case-poisoned-by-carbofuran/

Controlling nuisance wildlife while protecting our national symbol (by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and they mention RSAs) – https://www.annapoliscreative.com/controlling-nuisance-wildlife-while-protecting-our-national-symbol/

Safely dispose of carbofuran this Saturday and safeguard our national symbol – https://www.annapoliscreative.com/safely-dispose-of-carbofuran-this-saturday-and-safeguard-our-national-symbol/

30 dead bald eagles in Maryland – how Virginia solved the problem, but Maryland didn’t – https://www.annapoliscreative.com/30-dead-bald-eagles-in-maryland-how-virginia-solved-the-problem-but-maryland-didnt/

With at least 30 bald eagles killed by carbofuran in Maryland in the last 12 years, House Bill 1025 aims to eliminate the toxic pesticide in the state – https://www.annapoliscreative.com/with-at-least-30-bald-eagles-killed-by-carbofuran-in-the-last-12-years-in-maryland-house-bill-1025-aims-to-eliminate-the-toxic-pesticide-in-the-state/

Editorial: Beth Decker (AKA Elizabeth Lindenau), an animal hoarder, worked with two non-profits devoted to birds – https://www.annapoliscreative.com/editorial-beth-decker-aka-elizabeth-lindenau-an-animal-hoarder-worked-with-two-non-profits-devoted-to-birds-whistleblowers-wanted-people-to-know-but-others-kept-it-secret/

Editorial: The death of House Bill 1025 leaves concerns about eagles – https://www.annapoliscreative.com/editorial-the-death-of-house-bill-1025-leaves-concerns-about-eagles-and-why-has-dnr-stayed-so-quiet-on-regulated-shooting-areas/

Donna L. Cole is an award-winning reporter and speaker who currently works for WNAV News. For her reporting work on the eagle poisonings, she received the 2019 and 2020 Society of Professional Journalists DC Pro Chapter Dateline Awards for Investigative Journalism, the 2018 Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association Outstanding Enterprise Journalism award and the 2019 Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association award for Documentary/In-Depth Reporting.  Her work also led to changes in pesticide licensing regulations in Maryland, the first ever carbofuran pesticide advisory being issued by the state of Maryland and House Bill 1025, that aimed to ban the possession of carbofuran in Maryland and rid of the state of stockpiles of the toxic pesticide. The bill died in committee due to opposition from the Maryland Farm Bureau.

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