Vandevert is firm
Ospreys flit happily over water, unaware of condemnation
Apparently ignoring the edict of Dr. J.C. Vandevert, state game commissioner, who has sentenced all ospreys on the Deschutes river here to death, two more fish hawks were wheeling and darting over the mirror pond in Bend today. When announcement was made of the game commissioner’s plans for exterminating the hawks yesterday only two were known to be fishing in the river here.
Dr. Vandevert remained firm in his purpose to have the ospreys killed, in spite of the protest of the Oregon Audubon society, voiced yesterday by President W.A. Elliott. Just when the sentence of death will be carried out, Dr. Vandevert did not say.
“There is one thing I would like to correct,” Dr. Vandevert said today. “Yesterday The Bulletin quoted me as having said that the fish hawks were killing ducks. What I said was that it had been reported to me by several Bend sportsmen that the hawks have been molesting the ducks, and I have never claimed to know.
“I do know, however, that they are killing fish- the sate’s fish. The game commission is determined to protect the fish that it plants in the rivers and lakes. That is why we are going to have the ospreys killed.”
Dr. Vandevert declared his belief that the fish hawks are feeding on trout, rather than white fish, was due to observation of the habits of the birds. They do not dive very far under the water, he explained, apparently waiting until a fish rises for a fly or other insect and then pouncing on the fish as it reaches the surface of the water. White fish, he pointed out, are usually found on the bottom of the river, in deep water, which would indicate that the birds are after trout, not white fish.
Three Laws Ignored
Dr. Vandevert’s decision to have the ospreys executed was made in the face of three sets of laws which would forbid the destruction of the birds. One is the Oregon law which makes every incorporated city a bird refuge, with not even game birds legal prey at any time. The second is that part of the Oregon code which protects the osprey, among other birds not listed as game birds or “outlaws”, at all times and places. The third is the Bend ordinance which prohibits the use of firearms within the city limits, under heavy penalty.
Dr. Vandevert believes that the right of the game commission to protect game fish carries with it the right to kill ospreys if the molest game fish, he indicated.
“Another thing I would like to have known in connection with this matter is that I have arranged to have 25,000 trout planted in the Descutes at Bend,” Dr. Vandevert declared today. “If those fish can’t be protected against fish hawks, king-fishers and fish ducks, I certainly won’t allow them to be planted here. And I believe most of the sportsmen will back me up in that stand.”
Pelicans Are Cited
The contention of those who have been seeking to have the ospreys protected is that the osprey is just as much a part of the wild life of Oregon as the rainbow trout. The argument has been advanced that a great many Bend citizens do not fish, but are more interested in observing wild life on the mirror pond than catching trout. These people, it has been argued, are entitled to consideration, just as the sportsmen are.
Supporters of this viewpoint have frequently mentioned the case of the white pelicans of the Klamath lakes. These birds, recognized as fish eaters, have been given strict protection by the residents of Klamath Falls, with the result that Klamath Falls has become famous as the city of the Pelicans. The same situation, it is stated, applies on Bend’s mirror pond and includes not only swans, wild ducks, white mallards, and geese, but also the ospreys, king-fishers and fish ducks which have shared in the interest of the community.
Source: Bend Bulletin