26 May 2015

MECA Staff Possess and Dispose of Wildbirds

During recent weeks of surveys to determine the extent of birds hitting glass facades in downtown Omaha, there seemed to be a dearth of bird carcasses associated with the CenturyLink Center Omaha. Typically there are one or more carcasses or disabled birds found on a regular basis.

The reason there were have been no carcasses was finally determined, and was — as expected — because of staff working for the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority. Morning's when they do their rounds to clean up trash, they also include bird carcasses. The dead birds are picked up and placed in a bucket on their cart as they continue along their route.

The morning of May 26th, upon approaching the north portion of the west facade of the center, one of two MECA workers was seen using "trash tongs" to pickup two bird carcasses and then place them into the bucket on their cart. Coming up to the cart, the worker was asked: "What kind of birds are those?" The response: "Yellow ones," confirms that the worker knew he was handling birds. Being nearly adjacent to the cart, a quick stop was made and the two carcasses were removed from the plastic bucket. They were two female Common Yellowthroats. Both carcasses were then suitably disposed of in a manner of respect for their natural origin, rather than being dealt with like a discarded styrofoam cup or errant piece of trash. The manner in which the MECA workers dealt with the birds killed at their facility is a crass manner of suitably dealing with the deadly tragedies, and shows a complete lack of respect for formerly vibrant wildbirds.

It is not known how the MECA staff deal with temporarily disabled birds which strike the western, glass facade of the facility. Are the staff workers aware enough or do they take the time to determine if a bird is alive but stunned, or is it treated as if dead. Disabled birds are often in a position similar to a carcass, as they try to recover to an extent where they can fly away. Grasping a bird with trash tongs may also be enough to kill it.

Numerous bird window strikes continue at the CenturyLink Center Omaha, despite the many decals placed upon the upper portion of the glass has not been efficiently effective in reducing the number of bird strikes, based upon findings last year.

There were four violations of the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act by MECA in association with the situation observed Tuesday morning, about 6:30 a.m. Each death of two warblers was a taking action. By picking up the carcasses and carrying them around in a plastic bucket, the workers had "possession" of the birds. It is illegal to possess birds without a permit.

This is just one instance of this sort of activity, as the MECA workers certainly have undertaken similar activity on multiple other days this spring, and during past times.

This situation was referred to law enforcement staff of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by other agency personnel.

There was apparently nothing done about this ongoing disposal of dead birds by MECA employees. Just as expected based upon the lack of action by the F.W.S.