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Birds ensnared in deadly net

Some customers of the Pine Creek Shopping Center recently have received a morbid surprise as they visit the Grass Valley plaza. Dangling in the nets lining the center’s rafters this week were the bodies of an adult bird and two shriveled baby birds.

“It’s an absolutely horrifying sight that nobody should have to see,” said Nancy Spencer, a customer of Courthouse Athletic Club.

Every spring, nets are installed along the center’s roof to prevent birds from nesting in the rafters, said Donna Clark of Pan Pacific Retail Properties. Pan Pacific owns and manages the Pine Creek Shopping Center, as well as other retail properties in the Sacramento area.



Clark said this is the first time birds have ever died from being entangled in the nets.

Spencer first saw the birds get caught in the nets on Tuesday, July 7, when she came out of the elevator on the second level on her way to the Courthouse Athletic Club.




She said there was one larger bird already dead and a newborn baby bird flailing its legs for more than two hours before it stopped moving.

“The baby hadn’t even opened its eyes yet and was struggling for nearly two hours before it gave up and died,” Spencer said.

A self-described bird lover, Spencer said she helped organize the release of more than 1,000 birds while working for an ornithologist in Southern California.

Linda Burbridge, who works for the Courthouse Athletic Club, also saw the birds that day. She and another co-worker tried unsuccessfully to rescue them.

“We tried to get a ladder and save the birds,” Burbridge said. “But the nets are too high for us to reach.”

Clark said netting is normally considered a humane form of bird abatement. She said the problem stemmed from children pulling on the nets, creating holes through which birds are able to get inside and are caught in the netting.

“We didn’t anticipate that people would pull on the nets and create holes,” Clark said, although neither children nor adults could reach the netting without the help of a ladder.

“We’ll have to contact a new bird abatement network and find a more humane way to stop bird nesting,” Clark said.

Wednesday, Clark said the netting at the Pine Creek Shopping Center, along with the dead birds, had been taken down. When a reporter subsequently visited the center, however, the nets and bird bodies were still there.

“People walk by the dead birds and start crying,” Spencer said. “Parents try to shield their children’s eyes, but the kids have already seen them and get very upset.”


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