Sept. 18 (UPI) -- A California family said three different types of birds are turning their back yard into a health hazard, but they can't remove the nests due to legal protections.
Danielle Witrykus said her family's Brentwood back yard is full of feathers, droppings, food remains and other mess from the three types of birds living in a tree that hangs over their back yard.
The tree, which is on city property but reaches over Witrykus' yard, contains three different types of birds, including state and federally protected herons and egrets.
"We're constantly surrounded by this smell of bird waste," Witrykus told KRON-TV. "Of these feathers. Of increased insects. There's dead fish. There's dead birds. There's broken eggs, I mean it's like a wasteland essentially."
She said the laws protecting the birds also make cleanup complicated, as their feathers are illegal to collect.
"We had to get special permission to even have the backyard cleaned, and it could only be slightly cleaned," Witrykus said.
She said the smells and biological hazards aren't the only problems.
"They make noise non-stop flying from our tree to our roof. I mean just flying from the tree onto our roof," Witrykus told KGO-TV.
City officials said they looked into the situation and verified that it is illegal to move the birds' nests.
"This is where bureaucracy and logic don't mix. This is insane," Brentwood Mayor Robert Taylor said.
The city department of parks and recreation said it is consulting with an avian specialist in the hopes of addressing the problem.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife said officials might look into cutting down the tree once the nests are cleared.
"This is a hazardous environment no one should be forced to live in this type of situation not for me, my husband but more so for our children," Witrykus said.