Several baby birds that were rescued from a demolished tree they were living in are expected to be released Wednesday in a Newport Beach park, just one block from where their home was destroyed.
Ten nestlings were moved by residents from an area where a Ficus tree that housed dozens of other birds was taken down, six of those nestlings survived the ordeal. Two snowy egrets and three black-crowned night herons, both legally protected birds, will be released at the "L" Street Park," just a block away from where the Ficus tree was bulldozed down in late May.
Neighborhood residents and environmentalists were outraged when the decades-old Ficus tree, which was on private property, was torn down, even though it housed the protected birds. Shelley Ervin of the Balboa Peninsula Point Association said the tree was removed to make room for a home that is being built on the property.
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"It's such a great celebration of the lives that we saved, but of course we're all working very hard to make sure this case goes to court and gets litigated by the DA's office," said Ervin, who is also an organizer of the event.
Ervin said residents want to establish an ordinance similar to one Laguna Beach has, where heritage trees more than 50 years old are kept track of, even if they are on private property. She said she would like the ordinance to require an arborist to evaluate a tree before property owners trim, prune or remove the tree, so if the tree is home to animals, like the Ficus was, they would not be harmed.
"It was a totally preventable nature disaster," Ervin said.