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Tree Trimmer Blamed For Harming Protected Birds Outside Oakland Post Office Paying For Their Care

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) -- After receiving death threats, a Bay Area tree trimmer who was blamed for harming birds during a trimming job in Oakland is trying to smooth ruffled feathers.

Two weeks ago, the U.S. Postal Service hired Ernesto Pulido to trim the tree near an Oakland post office. During the trimming, five blacked crowned night herons fell from the tree and got hurt. The birds are a protected species.

Witnesses initially feared the birds were killed in a wood chipper. A federal investigation concluded that was not the case.

Many were outraged and Pulido said he even received death threats.

Pulido said it was an accident and told KPIX 5 he would even be willing to go to jail for it.

"It's not that I want to go to jail, you know. I've never been to jail and I don't want to be in jail, but you have to face the consequences in life. You have to fix the mistakes you do in life," Pulido said Friday.

KPIX 5 caught up with the tree trimmer on a job in Antioch. On Thursday he was at a Fairfield bird sanctuary to see how the birds he harmed are doing.

"He showed up really early, actually," said Andrew Harmon of International Bird Rescue. Harmon said Pulido reached out to them.

"He contacted us. He offered to pay for their care. He was clearly concerned, very contrite," said Harmon.

Pulido has followed through. He has donated $500 to International Bird Rescue, and promised to send all $2,200 he is set to make from the Post Office job. The money will pay for most of the birds' care, which included fixing one of the bird's beaks.

"Because we do care for animals, and to show we're not cruel to animals like people are saying," Pulido said.

Harmon said, "A lot of animals are injured or harmed because of humans, and we don't often see people taking responsibility for it."

Pulido said he has learned a valuable lesson, but he is also teaching others a lesson in taking responsibility.

"As far as people who may have caused the harm, it's pretty rare that you see someone stepping up," Harmon said.

The birds will be released sometime in the next few weeks.

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