Friday, April 12, 2024

These breezeways have trapped and killed wild birds for 30 years, residents say

WILMINGTON — For the last three decades, the breezeways of a Wilmington apartment complex have trapped and killed wild birds, according to residents.

Liz Carroll lives at the Colonial Parke apartments on New Centre Drive. According to Carroll, the issue comes from the design of the apartment buildings.

The second-story breezeways windows are were birds get trapped and frequently die, according to resident Liz Carroll. (Port City Daily photo / BENJAMIN SCHACHTMAN)
The second-story breezeways windows are were birds get trapped and frequently die, according to resident Liz Carroll. (Port City Daily photo / BENJAMIN SCHACHTMAN)

“I know how it sounds, but it happens all the time,” Carroll said. “The design of the buildings, the top story of the apartment breezeways are closed off with these window boxes. Birds fly in, but then they get trapped. Especially when it is hot, they just get baked in the sun, they’re dehydrated. If no one helps them, they die.”

Carroll said she has seen the problem get worse in the summer months, but that it happens throughout the year. It doesn’t appear to be just a recent problem, either.

The breezeway windows at the Colonial Parke apartments have been trapping and killing wild birds for over 30 years, residents say. (Port City Daily photo / BENJAMIN SCHACHTMAN)
The breezeway windows at the Colonial Parke apartments have been trapping and killing wild birds for over 30 years, residents say. (Port City Daily photo / BENJAMIN SCHACHTMAN)

According to Leslee Matyi, a family friend of Carroll, the problem has been going on for a long time — since at least 1986.

“A good friend of mine and my brother used to live there, so I was over there all the time. This was about 1986 to 1989. There were always birds getting stuck in those windows. My brother would go sometimes to try and help the birds get out and there would be dead birds up there. It was sad, you know, because we’re animal lovers too,” Matyi said.

Liz Carroll and her grandfather rescuing a trapped bird in June. (Port City Daily photo / COURTESY LIZ CARROLL)
Liz Carroll and her grandfather rescuing a trapped bird in June. (Port City Daily photo / COURTESY LIZ CARROLL)

Carroll has rescued several birds on her own, but said she’s had trouble getting help.

“I contacted the Fire Department and several animal rescue organizations, but most of them are volunteer and couldn’t get out in time. A day after the birds are trapped they often are already dead,” Carroll said.

Jennifer Leonard, director of Coastal Carolina Wildlife Rescue, said she gets calls about the Colonial Park birds frequently, but that state law often prevents interfering with the birds once they’ve built nests (read the Wildlife Resources Commission bird regulations here).

Reporters made several attempts to visit the management office, in addition to phone calls and emails. The Colonial Parke apartment management did not respond. (Port City Daily photo / BENJAMIN SCHACHTMAN)
Reporters made several attempts to visit the management office, in addition to phone calls and emails. The Colonial Parke apartment management did not respond. (Port City Daily photo / BENJAMIN SCHACHTMAN)

“It happens all the time. We get calls all the time. What people don’t realize is that it’s actually a felony under the Wildlife Resources Commission to move or interfere with those nests without a permit. It can carry a fine of up to $25,000. When I get calls, I tell people this, and I suspect they often go ahead and move them anyway,” Leonard said.

Leonard agreed with Carroll’s suggestion, which is removing several of the glass panes from the second-story breezeway windows. Carroll said Colonial Parke management was “100 percent aware of the issue,” but had not taken action.

“I asked what they could do to prevent this from continuing, such as taking half the window out or opening up a few squares on the window, and (the property manager) said that she will mention it, but most likely nothing will be done,” Carroll said.

Management at Colonial Parke did not respond to repeated calls and emails sent since Friday. A reporter for Port City Daily visited the management office twice, but the employee on duty declined to give a name or to comment.


Send comments and tips to Benjamin Schachtman at ben@localvoicemedia.com, @pcdben on Twitter, and (910) 538-2001.

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