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Take Action: Petition to Save Bird Island

Against eviction, for all our relations. Image: Detail from website SaveBirdIsland.com.

Greg Harman

A coalition of organizations and individuals launched a public campaign this week calling for the end of the violent eviction of the birds of Bird Island on San Antonio’s Westside. The campaign calls for residents to both sign a petition targeting the San Antonio Mayor and City Council as well as urging them to visit the sites of bird harassment and record what they see.

The campaign was announced with a post reading:

The world is in crisis. San Antonio recognizes that. That’s why it’s recently passed Climate Action and Adaptation Plan claims to “promote biodiversity and healthy ecosystems.” Yet right now the City is helping destroy one of the only known rookeries in San Antonio, home for decades to a variety of birds, including herons, egrets, cormorants, and others.

City officials say the project is necessary because of US Air Force concerns over bird-airplane collisions. But the City and Air Force have failed to demonstrate that the targeted cattle egrets from Elmendorf Lake are an actual threat. According to the Air Force itself, species of primary concern are actually vultures, geese, pelicans, hawks, and doves.

The motivation is more likely a dislike by a few powerful people of the sights and sounds and smells of a healthy rookery. …

Read the full statement at SaveBirdIsland.com.

Read more about the issue at La Voz and Deceleration.

Below is the petition from Friends of Bird Island (with Deceleration‘s full endorsement):

To: Mayor and City Council of San Antonio
From: Your Name

In December, 2019, with little community engagement and misleading information, the City of San Antonio led the destruction of one of the only known rookeries in San Antonio. Today, the birds seeking to return to this unique ecological gem are under daily assault to prevent them from returning to “Bird Island” at Elmendorf Lake Park.

We, the undersigned, demand a moratorium on habitat destruction and bird harassment at Elmendorf and other public parks in San Antonio for the following reasons:

The City of San Antonio recently adopted a Climate Action & Adaptation Plan pledging to “promote biodiversity and healthy ecosystems”;

Habitat loss is one of the primary causes of global climate disruption and the destruction of Bird Island has displaced threatened species protected under international treaty;

The project suffered from lack of transparency and community involvement, disrespect of the rich cultural history of the Westside and people’s deep relationship with the birds, disruption of the balance of park ecosystems; and degradation of the peaceful nature of the outdoor experience;

Park visitors are put at risk by the use of chemicals, pyrotechnics, and noise harassment targeting the birds that have resulted in violations of environmental best practices and the law.

For these reasons and others, we demand an immediate halt to such destructive activities at Elmendorf Lake Park and city-wide.