Swallows Entrapped in Netting Under Venoco Piers

By Aquaholic

It wasn’t exactly what I was hoping to see on this beautiful Easter morning. My first thought when I originally saw the netting being installed under the defunct Ellwood piers, “that’s a really bad idea.”

Then I assumed, whether correctly or incorrectly, it was installed to limit the birds ability to build nests, as the piers are being dismantled as part of the mitigation agreement?

Sadly, we found many birds have become entangled and imprisoned behind the netting. Trying as hard as we could, with the longest stick we could find, we could not free them. Many dozens more swallows are trying desperately to build their nests, right through the netting, where they will not be able to access them! UGH. It’s a sad sight.


Written by AQUAHOLIC

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  1. Yes, absolutely call the SBWCN 805-681-1080. They’re probably closed now on Sunday evening but leave a message on the machine — telling them where, exactly, and how high off the beach is the netting and also what material is the netting. They used to go out and rescue swallows when people would wash the nests off the buildings. I don’t know who owns the pilings but the netting should be removed and nothing done re removal until after the nesting season.
    I have missed seeing your photos, Aquaholic!

  2. OP here….follow up.
    I phoned the SBWCN this morning and left a detailed message. So far, crickets. They might be super busy, out on an emergency, whatever…I just wanted you all to know I did follow up. I hope someone can do something about this, it was sad watching the birds who nest here every year, frantic, completely thwarted by the netting, and worse, becoming entrapped.

  3. Thank you BIRD, I did follow up with SBWCN, have not heard back.
    Thanks too for remembering my photos…of which I have a question! I’ve been absent for quite awhile and upon my return I see almost NO images in the Photo Collection Tab… The most I saw were 3 under one of the “categories”!! What on earth happened to all those years of photos and why don’t people submit anything? My guess would be, that someone like me (sorry, but I work hard for my craft!) does not want their images lumped into the daily offerings, at some awful low-res setting, looking like crap! I travel far and wide to capture my images and would feel bad to see them there! Whatever happened to just posting images in the “news Feed”? I guess I have a LOT to learn about the new EdHat!

  4. Called again, left message, no one is picking up at SBWCN. I’m worried at how stressed those poor creatures must be, with no food or water and no ability to free themselves…UGH. Venoco is in Chapter 11, and owns the piers, I found NO way to contact them. What would be the repercussions of taking action to help those trapped Swallows?

  5. Hi there Aquaholic. We have received your message. Our phone has been ringing off the hook about this. It’s so terrible that that net is up. We have been in contact with two different Fish and Wildlife wardens. We are not legally allowed to do anything about the net, but since these swallows are a federally protected species, USFWS can take action. We recommend contacting them (and we are actively doing so ourselves). Thank you for caring for these creatures!

  6. Thank you all. We have reported this to USFWS. These swallows are federally protected and this net should not be there. Unfortunately we are not allowed to take it down ourselves, but Fish and Wildlife are the ones that can do something about it. We will keep special watch over this area for injured and trapped birds.

  7. The only thing I can think of is when the site was down awhile back maybe it happened then I don’t even know if my past Scanner Reports survived my only records are notebooks with hand written notes I have about a dozen completely dry bic pens I’d like to make into something to remind me of this…

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