Neighbors accused of shooting fireworks at bird rookery

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Posted: Monday, April 8, 2013 6:31 pm | Updated: 9:05 pm, Tue May 7, 2013.

OSPREY, Fla. - There's now more controversy surrounding the bird rookery at The Oaks Club. The two islands that make up the rookery is home to thousands of birds -- but not everyone is happy about it.  Now some of those residents are taking the fight to get rid of the birds to the next level.

"It was a high powered flash of light with flames attached to it, and they were shooting it directly into the bird island," said Beverly Meadows a resident of the Oaks Club. 

Meadows says she saw 4 shots, with a fire trail, going into one of the two islands that make up the bird rookery behind her home.  That rookery is considered the 2nd best in Southwest Florida and is home to birds from all across the area.  But, Meadows says when the flames hit the island the birds began to leave.

"Hundreds of birds raised up from the island they screamed from the top of their voice and they flew away in terror," said Meadows.

The Oaks Club rookery has been a very controversial issue. Back in January the club's management began removing an invasive species of pepper trees on the island.  It was an attempt to reduce the bird population but that removal ran into delays and was eventually placed on hold when a protected bird species began nesting there.  And according to information from the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, the incident report about the flames shot into the island, was another attempt to scare the birds away.

And the homeowners who shot the fireworks aren't shying away from their actions.

"We want to scare a few birds away, and did it work?  No!," said Page Halpin. 

She says their actions came out of frustration.  "Because of the stench, the smell, the noise, and the dirt.  Do you know what its like to live near 3,000 egrets and herons? It's gotten out of hand, it just needs to be scaled back some". said Halpin. 

But despite the frustration, some neighbors feel firing fireworks into the island does more harm than good.  "I was very afraid they were trying to set the island on fire or the fireworks would cause the trees that have been cut down and that are dry to burn, " said Meadows.

Neighbors say the dead trees and shrubbery from when crews began clearing the island are still piled up in the center of the island.  That debris is what many say they're afraid could have gone up in flames and possibly spreading to the surrounding homes.

It is also against the law to disturb nesting birds, so officials says they will be investigating the issue.


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Welcome to the discussion.


  • FLAMINGOFLO posted at 9:30 pm on Tue, Apr 9, 2013.

    FLAMINGOFLO Posts: 2


  • FLAMINGOFLO posted at 9:28 pm on Tue, Apr 9, 2013.

    FLAMINGOFLO Posts: 2

    Haplin is the one that needs to move, not the birds. If these birds are in her backyard, didn't she see them before they purchased their house???? What kind of example is she setting? She basically it is saying it is okay to break the law and take matters into your own hands if you don't like something. Isn't this how the serial killer Jeffery Dalmer started? KILLING ANIMALS? Haplin stated, "Do you know what it is like to live next to 3,000 Egrets & Herons?" Maybe she should have looked on the Endangered Species list before she decided to try to torch their nesting area. Both of these birds are on the list along with several others that are nesting in the rookery. Why is she not being prosecuted for harrassing and disturbing the nesting area of birds that are on the Florida Endangered Species List? How many birds were killed when she did this? How many baby birds will not survive because the parents were scared away and will not return to the nest? Setting off fireworks in the county is illegal - what is wrong with law enforcement????? It sounds to me that someone is being paid off to turn their heads and let these arrogant jerks do whatever they want.

  • deerparkfl posted at 2:57 pm on Tue, Apr 9, 2013.

    deerparkfl Posts: 1

    This Scum Bag Lady ( Page Halpin ) needs to be arrested immediately. Birds where there before the homes were built. If you don't like it Page, get the @#*$ out !!!

  • SRQ posted at 12:33 pm on Tue, Apr 9, 2013.

    SRQ Posts: 2

    Rediculous. You're gonna b*tch and whine because animals that have been here for hundreds of years are annoying you? Move if you don't like it. Some people actually move here BECAUSE of the nature and beauty, imagine that!

  • CapeCodJim posted at 7:42 am on Tue, Apr 9, 2013.

    CapeCodJim Posts: 1

    What a bunch of selfish & entitled snobs. The birds were there before the people moved in. They bought knowing the birds were there.... and now they complain. What's the matter with people? It happens all the time. People buy next to a lanfill or farm or sewagae plant.... and then complain. If they don't like it they should move. The loser with the fireworks should get the maximum fine and punishment including jail time. This is the kind of goofball that should be made an example of. Throw the book at him! Then give him community service in an amimal shelter picking up feces!

  • Deathfrogg posted at 7:29 am on Tue, Apr 9, 2013.

    Deathfrogg Posts: 1

    So why isn't this being treated as attempted Arson?

  • Minister posted at 1:46 am on Tue, Apr 9, 2013.

    Minister Posts: 1

    Page Dunlap Halpin of Sarasota County, FL sounds like a real charmer.


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