"Hopefully it’s dead."
These simple words are very telling in regards to the ongoing bird strike situation at the Qwest Center Omaha.
This morning – 15 Sep 2009 – just after having taken a picture of a another warbler carcass at the glass wall on the west side of the Qwest Center Omaha, a security man came up and made the above comment when he picked up the carcass of a warbler so it could be thrown into the trash. The comment was heard but I was so dumbfounded that I asked what twice – because a skycrane was running a short ways away and making a bunch of noise – so he said wait a moment, and once the warbler was in the trash receptacle he came back and repeated the statement. He added: "Sometimes they flop around."
What this indicates to me is that the guard – a person hired by Qwest Center Omaha officials - is doing just as the officials told the company to do each morning, based on my asking the guy a few questions. He said they are supposed to throw away any birds they find and this is being done first thing in the morning and again at 7 a.m.
The disgusting thing this indicates is that all birds are probably being thrown into the trash. This could likely include live birds, which were stunned and disabled upon striking the glass wall along the west side of the Qwest Center Omaha and had not yet recovered to a degree sufficient enough to escape. With sunrise coming later the possibility of stunned birds being present is very likely. And I read yesterday, that rails can be stunned for hours before they may recover so they may seem dead but are actually not.
The despicable thing this also point to is the sorry depths Qwest Center Omaha officials will go to avoid taking any responsibility for the more than 200 bird strikes at this building in 18 months. There were five carcasses today. There were nine carcasses yesterday morning, left over from the weekend.
The Fish and Wildlife Service asked Qwest Center Omaha officials a year ago – at a meeting and in a letter – to address the situation. The request was ignored.
Back in June, when I asked Roger Dixon, the director of the facility to comment on the many bird strikes/deaths occurring, he responded with [this in an email]:
"Last year you were observed by a key staff person of MECA taking a bird carcass from a bag and placing it on the ground, then taking a photograph of this bird claiming it had flown into our facility. It is apparent you have no problem in staging so called "bird takings" due to our facility. You have no credibility, and so I will no longer respond to your inquiries."
This is a blatant lie as it has no truth. I have never staged a bird strike occurrence so this comment is slander!
And the most recent action to having a security firm deal with the bird carcasses lying about means Qwest Center Omaha can place any blame for illegally handling birds or carcasses onto a third party, the security firm.
Based on the time last autumn when FWS officials that grilled me on whether I had a permit to handle or possess migratory birds, it would seem that anyone handling a bird that is alive or dead would need to have a permit.
The security guard was not aware of this as no one had informed him of this until I mentioned it this morning, and suggested he contact the FWS for further information. I’m sure the FWS officials will say that no permit is required to throw away a dead bird.
I sure wonder how the FWS would respond to live birds getting thrown into the trash. Perhaps the birds may recover soon enough to fly out the portal, but perhaps the bag gets taken out, closed up and a bird would get KILLED.
By the way, the only birds I may handle are disabled birds which may be picked up and moved to a safer place so they don’t get run over and smashed or killed when crushed by an ignorant pedestrian. Sure I should have a permit, but I don’t and won’t because in my view, I do not any permit from any agency in order to help an injured bird.
(I consider the FWS hypocrites because they only selectively enforce the taking aspect of the MBTA. This is discriminatory and means that millions and millions of birds die because the agency does nothing about bird strikes. Yet they will fine an energy company hundreds of thousands of dollars for a few eagle deaths (not to demean eagles but to indicate the selective enforcement.) which is a regular practice of the agency. If it was me, I wouldn't pay any fine because you can't charge one entity with a knowing violation, and ignore many others with known violations based on the same law.)
So the birds continue to strike the glass wall at the Qwest Center Omaha and die with great regularity as autumn migration is underway.
Yet nothing is being done.
Qwest Center Omaha officials are apparently doing whatever they can to avoid any responsibility.
The FWS – in this case I call the agency the Federal Whatever Service – has not followed through to get something done at the Qwest Center Omaha. There has been no public sentiment expressed by people interested in birds – other than me – about the essential need to reduce bird strikes in Omaha.
The whole situation at the Qwest Center Omaha is despicable! It is deplorable the misery and pain the injured and dead birds suffer after striking something when the situation could be changed and there could be a great reduction in strikes.
But someone has to do something first ...
And for those who say I should quit whining and do something about it, perhaps you could ask officials at Creighton and the Central Park Plaza about recent contact I've made with them. Or perhaps you can take a look at the OPPD building and see where they have put up screening on some windows and how this has helped to reduce mortality (and I would be remiss in taking any claim for this as one FWS person did inform them of my findings so something was done this spring. I am continuing to keep them informed about recent strikes.) Or ask Union Pacific (with nearly 50 strikes at the UP Center) why they aren't doing anything and yet when they were informed of the situation, they expressed a cavalier attitude when the situation was discussed with them yesterday.
Two dead warblers as seen on the morning of 15 Sep 2009. This image was included with the above email sent to federal officials and the NEBirds forum.