OXNARD, Calif. - A group of residents from Harbor Villas in Oxnard rallied together Thursday morning after an apartment complex attempted to have a tree cut down that was known to house nesting Great Blue Herons.
“I joked with my students that you might see your teacher Mr. Spears chained to a tree,” said Harbor Villa resident Robert Spears. “I was just about to start my morning class because I teach online and I heard some commotion. I looked outside and I saw the sheriff here, and I told my wife it looks like they are going to cut down this tree.”
Spears and his wife then ran outside to stop it.
“We were like, 'No. This is the home to these egrets. They have babies here every year, there are three teenagers,' and I say teenagers because they are about a year old that live in this tree,” Spears said.
According to neighbors, there are three Great Blue Heron nests located in the large tree. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife said the birds are a threatened species and have been listed as endangered since 1995.
“Everybody in the community and people that live on the boats were appalled at the fact that they were going to just chop it all down," said Spears.
Many gathered under the tree to prevent the cutting until Harbor Patrol and the Department of Fish and Wildlife arrived. The organizations successfully stopped the process for the time being saying it is against the law to destroy any birds' nest.
But once nesting season is over, the tree cutting may resume.
“I am sure it probably blocks the view of some of the residents here, but I think it is more important to maintain the home and the natural habitat for the Egrets,” said Spears. “I am glad they stop cutting and I hope we get an injunction or some type of legal action to prevent them from cutting it down.”