Speaking Up for the Owls

By Jessica Greene
|  Monday, Jan 4, 2010  |  Updated 8:15 AM PDT
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Burrowing owl

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Bird lovers in the East Bay are crying foul over the relocation of owls to make way for a new development project.

The burrowing owls in the planned Blue Ridge neighborhood in Antioch will be removed to make way for 127 new homes.

Owl advocates with Friends of East Bay Owls donned masks and waved signs with the message  "Give a hoot, Not the Boot" over the weekend in hopes of keeping the birds from being moved.

One-way doors will be placed on the owls' burrows so they can fly away but not come back. After they vacate the burrows, wildlife biologists will destroy the burrows and poison them to eradiate the ground squirrels. The plan is sanctioned by the state Department of Fish and Game.

The area is home to 11 birds year around, owl advocate Scott Artis told the Contra Costa Times. Artis said 18 more of the winged creatures come to the area during breeding season. 

Activists say the plan amounts to a death sentence to the 30 birds that inhabit the area through the year.

They are gathering signatures and plan to present Attorney General Jerry Brown with a plan to intervene and stop state officials from going through with theplan.

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