The Morning Songbird lawsuit is a real story that has captured the attention of many people. A small California company owned by a man named Anthony Ricci was accused of harming and killing over a hundred songbirds. After several attempts to reach a settlement of the case went to court. Today in an interesting twist the United States District Court Judge ordered the company to pay damages to the victims and their attorneys. The judge also stated that they could not sue the government for the alleged illegalities.
The company had tried to argue that they only intended to shoot the birds if they were posing a danger to themselves, but the United States government vigorously argues that the birds were not acting in any way to cause harm.
They maintained that the birds were only flying over the property because they were tired from the heat of the day and would eventually land on the ground where they would die. The contention did not hold water with the United States government. They maintained that they were following proper procedure when taking the birds from the property.
While the United States government is not responsible for the damages incurred from the Morning Songbird lawsuit, it is worth noting that the government is itself facing a lawsuit from a bird lover who lost his own pet bird in the process.
The government lost the suit but lost the legal battle. On appeal the United States Court of Appeals found that the loss of the pet bird should be compensated to the owner. The court noted that the loss of the pet bird was the result of negligence on the part of the government and therefore ruled in favor of the bird lover.
The Morning Songbird lawsuit is just one of the legal issues involving the taking of songbirds in recent times.
There have been other such incidents. One involved the German shepherds that were allowed to free roam near a major highway. When a plane saw these dogs and their flock of birds approach the highway it fired shots in the air to scare them away. However, the dogs and their flock did eventually fly away over a bridge into an area where a big number of hunter birds later perished.
There has also been the story of the so-called “dead bird’s case”. A number of hunters were attempting to kill songbirds without using a license.
One of these hunters was quoted as saying that he would only use his gun if the birds were not flying over his shoulder. He was subsequently fined $500 for this violation. The local authorities launched an investigation into this incident. They found that this hunter had in fact violated the law by aiming his gun at the birds without first ascertaining that they were flying over a shoulder.
These are only two of the many legal issues involving the taking of songbirds in recent times.
With all this going on it is easy to see why a songbird lawsuit is becoming more common. While there are hunters who are genuinely concerned about preserving wild life, it is also important to recognize that some birders may be looking at these incidents not as problems to be resolved but rather as opportunities for entertainment. With a little bit of luck, the songbird lawsuit will one day become a thing of the past.