A NYC pest control project that killed a woodpecker instead of the invasive species it was intended to kill was a colossal failure.
Sarah Valeri initially believed the dead birds with stray feathers she discovered on trees near Brooklyn Army Terminal on Saturday were part of a grotesque art installation. Valeri was “horrified” when she looked closer and discovered a live downy woodpecker trying to escape from a glue trap wrapped all around the tree trunk.
The accidental bird carnage caused by glue traps ostensibly set up to kill the invasive species, spotted lanternflies, was what Valeri discovered – it wasn’t art.
Valeri thought it was atrocious.
Misguided Pest Control Project
Valeri, a painter and art therapist, sprung into action to save the woodcutter. The Wild Bird Fund described the project as a misguided attempt at pest control, and the bird eventually died along with dozens of others.
The Wild Bird Fund tweeted that many trees in the area were covered with sticky paper, likely to repel spotted lanternflies.
An exterminator removed the traps “immediately” after authorities learned of the risks they posed, according to a representative of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, which runs Brooklyn Army Terminal.
The spokesman said that spotted lanternflies are known to damage and kill trees, so the exterminator initially proposed and installed glue traps low on the trees to protect the sap from the pests.
The corporation has announced that they will not allow these types of traps on campus going forward.
Invasive species: Spotted lanternflies
This year, spotted lanternflies, which swarm tree trunks and soar through the air, sucking up sap, have increased in number across New York City.
A one-time call to kill the lanternfly on sight was made by the city’s parks department out of concern that its spread could affect the state’s vineyards.
However, authorities warned New Yorkers against overreacting and taking unwise measures.
Glue Traps vs Circle Traps
Catherine Quayle, the Wild Bird Fund’s social media director, said using glue traps was such an unnecessary step.
She said that people should be aware that glue traps kill anything they come into contact with indiscriminately. She added that they never advocate the use of glue traps.
Quayle said the use of glue traps against spotted lanternflies is new, but in the past the Wild Bird Fund has only dealt with glue traps intended for rodents that catch birds.
The Wild Bird Fund suggests using “circle traps,” which are essentially plastic-lined tunnels that insects can enter, to catch lanternflies instead.
Such circle traps would not evolve into the bird kill traps Valeri observed near the Brooklyn Army Terminal, which consisted of a field of trees littered with dead birds, suffering live birds, and plucked feathers from other birds that had somehow become detached. has.
Also read: Biology researchers argue for reconsidering the benefits of invasive species
Death by stress
Quayle also warned good samaritans not to try to free the trapped birds themselves from the glue traps. According to her, the Wild Bird Fund recommends wrapping any exposed sticky paper in paper towels and putting the entire package, including the bird, in an ventilated container such as a cardboard box.
The Wild Bird Fund or a certified wildlife rehabber must receive those containers with the birds inside.
But even then, she claimed, the birds were still in trouble.
Even when a bird is freed from a gum trap, it usually takes a long time for its feathers to regrow, according to the woman.
Quayle explained that the woodpecker tried to save Valeri and the other birds most likely died of stress.
Valeri said the news that the woodcutter had passed away disappointed her. She hopes by killing it, people will be dissuaded from ever using glue traps again, whether they are used to catch lantern flies as well as other wildlife, Patch reports.
Related Article: Invasive vine-killing spotted lanternfly could reach California winelands within five years
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