OREGON COAST - A driver plowed through a flock of birds on the Oregon coast this week, killing two and injuring another.
A witness reported seeing a car hitting the birds on Sunset Beach, just outside of Astoria, Thursday night and brought three injured gulls to the Wildlife Center of the North Coast. One survived but two others died, including one that held on for about an hour but couldn't make it.
"He came in semi comatose with shallow respiration," said Sharnelle Fee, the center's director. She said she sees this type of thing regularly.
In two of the worst incidents, just recently, in Long Beach, Washington, dozens of birds were killed when a young man drove through them with his Jeep and last year, a driver killed 30 young gulls on Sunset Beach. Most were chicks that hadn't yet learned to fly.
"They are even more susceptible to automobile strikes because they can't move as fast as the adults do," Fee said.
Drivers are allowed to drive up to 25 miles per hour on Sunset Beach. Fee said speeding drivers may not realize that it takes time for birds to take flight.
"And if someone is doing in excess of 25 miles per hour, they don't have time to get out of the way of a vehicle," she said.
Deliberately trying to kill a federally protected bird is a serious offense. As for the driver who killed the two birds at Sunset Beach this week, the Clatsop County District Attorney said he won't face charges because there is not enough evidence to prove it was intentional.
"It's very sad," said Fee. "Two birds lost their lives, another is injured, possibly for life, and we don't know how many went off and died in the surf."
If you see anyone harming birds or other wildlife, officials urge you to call the Oregon State Police or the Department of Fish and Wildlife.