New A's Ballpark Would Put Lake Merritt Bird Mecca at Risk: Expert

Concerns continue to pile up regarding the Oakland A's projected site for a new ballpark, and the latest involves birds.

The head of the Golden Gate Audubon Society, Cindy Margulis, worries the bird mecca at Lake Merritt would be at serious risk if there's a ballpark nearby.

Margulis says during nesting season, herons, egrets, cormorants, ducks and other species make hundreds of trips a day to the estuary to get food for their their babies, and flying by a loud and lit up ballpark could be disastrous.

"If the crowd erupts when there’s a homer, the birds will get spooked and will potentially fly into the highway and cause traffic accidents," Margulis said. "It could be a disaster for all the wildlife that depends on Lake Merritt for refuge."

She fears birds that have nested here for generations will abandon the area, and that would be a shame.

"I think what’s in the center of Oakland is pretty magical and special," she said.

The A’s have said they’re committed to building the 30,000-plus-seat stadium near Laney College responsibly. In a statement, the team said, "We look forward to engaging in a community process where all voices are incorporated into our plan, including Golden Gate Audubon."

The ballpark plan world require an Environmental Impact Review. Margulis hopes the birds aren’t sent running from home.

"I definitely want the birds to stay, and I want the A’s to stay too," she said. "Wildlife and people and sports and commerce; all of those things can live together in the city, but we have to be respectful of who belongs there."

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