Image: Tim Peartrice, Flickr Creative Commons
Gulls may seem to take over beaches—and squawk and hover until they finagle food—but they still don’t deserve beer-can collars. That’s exactly what’s happening in the San Francisco Bay Area where, since mid-August, five gulls have been spotted with cut up cans intentionally ringed around their necks, according to International Bird Rescue Research Center
. “It has been confirmed by wildlife experts that someone is maliciously catching gulls and collaring them with cut beer cans,” IBRCC wrote on its blog
This isn’t a case of the trash-loving birds rifling through yesterday’s happy hour refuse either. “It’s not a hoax,” Rebecca Dmytryk from WildRescue posted on the organization’s blog November 3
. “We just spent two days trying to catch a real bird with a real Budweiser beer can around it's neck.”
The two aid groups are working together to catch the culprit of this federal crime, which they say is punishable under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act
and which prevents the birds from getting the nutrition they need or properly cleaning their wings. For a little motivation, the organizations have offered a $2,500 reward—which started as $1,000, but that anonymous donations upped—for capture of the responsible party.
If you spot one of these helpless gulls, don’t try to catch it, the rescue groups say. Instead, call them at (831) 429-2323 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
. Going after the birds could result in scaring them further, making capture and collar removal more difficult later.
Two comments on the IBRCC blog put nicely into words how unnecessary acts like this make bird lovers feel: “Too bad someone is doing this. Collaring birds is a…valuable method to study some species,” wrote someone from Norway. Another followed more simply with, “Humans suck.” “The views expressed in user comments do not reflect the views of Audubon. Audubon does not participate in political campaigns, nor do we support or oppose candidates.”