Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bird Massacre - A Few Bad Men

(WARNING - gruesome photo below) - During the late 19th Century and early 20th century plumage hunters infamously pillaged the bird rookeries of south Florida - killing hundreds of thousands of birds for their breeding plumage and leaving eggs unincubated and hatchlings to starve or die of exposure. The feathers were used mainly for women's hats - a trendy fashion of the time that drove the price of an ounce of feathers above that of gold. That was over a century ago and the bird populations of many bird species have not recovered.

Yesterday the State of Florida announced it would not pursue charges against three naval officers and 4 other accomplices for killing 21 birds on a nature preserve in Goodland, Florida in the Everglades.

The massacre occurred on February 17th of 2009. Fish and Wildlife officers heard gunshots and watched birds drop out of the sky. Two hours later four people walked from the rookery and three others left in a boat that was loaded with guns and ammunition.

The protected birds included 11 White Ibis, 2 Blue Herons, a Tri-colored Heron and a Snowy Egret. Also pictured but not protected is the Double-crested Cormorant.

Charges were not pursued because:
A) witnesses did not actually see anyone pull the trigger.
B) No prints were found on the weapons. The guns were presumably wiped clean of fingerprints.
C) The confession could not be used in court because the arresting officer had yet to read the person their rights
D) All four "corners" of the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve must be posted with No Trespassing signs and fenced. (See map below)

February 18th article in the Naples News
May 6th article

This would not stand if it were people and I won't pretend to understand the complications of the law. There is still a federal investigation into the matter and the naval officers are suspended from active duty but it disgusts me anyway


  1. it's so sad to read about this. I guess life will take care of those men who were not punished by the law.

  2. It is amazing to me that this was only a "local" story and got no press as far as I know in other places. This is the first I heard of this.

  3. Somewhere Michael Vick is thinking "that's not right". If it was dead pit bulls the world would be shocked but for whatever reason it's been buried locally.

  4. I understand that you can't punish someone without evidence but hopefully they do continue to pursue this and don't just let it drop. There should be some recourse. Maybe a life of being forced to listen to the Village People's "In the Navy" over and over?

  5. I was thinking for punishment they should have to listen to hacks repeating Jack Nicholson's line "You Can't Handle the Truth" over and over again.