Man Accused Of Destroying Pelican Nests, Killing Chicks

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) –A 59-year-old man has been accused of killing and attempting to kill a large number of American white pelicans, which are protected under federal law.

On Thursday in federal court, Craig Louis Staloch of Minnesota Lake was charged with one misdemeanor count of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

According to the United States Attorney s Office, on May 17, 2011, farmland rented by Staloch was visited by a wildlife specialist with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The purpose of the visit was to assess the status of an area that had been used as a nesting colony by pelicans the year before. Upon arrival, the specialist found numerous adult pelicans, many sitting on nests.

The next day, the same specialist returned with others to conduct a complete count of the pelicans at the site. However, no adult pelicans were found and broken eggs were discovered in many of the nests, appearing to have been smashed with a heavy object. Also, researchers found countless dead pelican chicks — some crushed — and other dead from abandonment or exposure.

There were 1,458 nests in the colony. More than 70 percent of the nests had been destroyed, according to the Attorney’s Office.

If convicted, Staloch could face up to six months in prison as well as a fine.

  • ez

    Why was he only charged with a Misdemeanor?

  • qwnbe

    He should get 6 months for each nest destroyed and each dead adult.
    Sounds again like another getting away with killing protected wildlife.

  • mel

    Why would he do this? I don’t get it? To prove a point, or is he just old and senile?

  • mel

    Wait a second, so this guy is consider evil and will be potentiailly punished in a court of law for killing the eggs of a bird protected by the government? Where do human beings sign up for this kind of protection?

    • hmmmmm, ok

      I gotta admit, that’s a pretty interesting twist on things. I guess we humans would have to be considered “endangered” or “threatened.” Or maybe some human equivalent of a songbird? Until then, its entirely legal (at least for the mother) to kill humans almost until the “hatch.”

      • Bye bye birdie, bye bye

        Ironic isn’t it? People incensed and demanding years and years of prison for some birds, while entire, hugely profitable businesses with actual medical doctors snuff out pre-born human beings, created in the image of God, then ripped out of the womb and unceremoniously tossed into a dumpster. BY THE MILLIONS EACH YEAR! Cute little human hatchlings heaped up in the landfill. Yet nary a peep form these bird brained animal worshipers. It’s the world turned upside down.

        • Bill

          Hey moron one thing has nothing to do with the other.

          • bye-bye

            Look up irony dum-dum.

          • Mel

            @Billy, the eggs of the bird are protected because they have the POTENTIAL to become said bird. Humans aren’t protected because, well, because…….I can’t seem to find a good reason why humans aren’t protected. The issue in this case is not that they consider the eggs to be alive, just that they will become the bird. The main argument with abortion is the question of when does life begin. But, if we were to use the same logic and policies used here to protect the eggs, then we should protect human in-utero babies because they have the same POTENTIAL to become a human being.

            • S

              I believe that the issue is who is deciding to terminate. In this case this was not the mother nor father smashing the eggs/babys, it was a completely different species. Does anyone also find it odd that this guy did this on property he RENTS? Not even his property, did he contact his landlord for approval prior to doing this? Seems like the landlord needs to also be involved somehow.

              • mel

                Yes, because animals in nature do not purposely kill their offspring. It goes against their nature. I guess that makes animals more compassionate and protective of their young than humans. Oh the glory of evolution.

                • S

                  Actually, you are mistaken. Many animals kill their young, sometimes because they cannot take care of it, sometimes because the offspring may have something wrong with it, or many times males will kill offspring so the females go back into heat. Guess you need to come up with a new theory mel….

        • Iconoclast

          Hey Bye Bye, in this country the human animal has decided in it’s highest court that a mother can choose to abort her baby. I don’t agree that choice is right but I respect the option to choose in most cases. These birds are a protected species and I doubt any of the bird parents would choose to kill their chicks. This man deserves at least a decade in jail for making that choice for the birds. Your holier than thou attitude and lack of compassion for other creatures speaks to just how much evil resides in your heart. Put down your bible and connect with your true origins in nature. You will find the divine all around you and your soul might actually be saved for real.

          • Kelly

            Unbelievable, this person has a choice to their opinion also. Are you serious when you say “Put down your Bible”??? This world is going to hell in a hand basket in short order because not enough people are picking it up. That’s what’s wrong with all of us. Yes the guy that killed these chick & eggs & probably adult birds was horribly wrong – I can’t believe they say he will only get 6 months. Some justice. But the other gentleman, comparing this to human life is also correct – open your mind a bit & take a look around you.

          • Bu-bye

            Hey Elasticpants, the highest courts in Germany sanctioned everything Hitler did too. Supreme courts don’t make natural law, they judge(or are supposed) what natural tells us. Which is what the founders rightly tried to base our constitution on, life and liberty being among the few supreme ones of those rights. And sometimes they get it wrong. Rulings get overturned from time to time. Precedent doesn’t not equal virtue. The snuffing out of ones offspring is not a right granted by the laws of nature and nature’s God. Some may think it is because thinking otherwise is inconvenient and difficult.

            Oddly the constitution doesn’t mention animal rights. Of course the bible talks in detail about how we ought to treat our animals. First that we are to take dominion over them and use them to our benefit. But obviously not abuse them needlessly or for sick, sadistic fun. “The righteous man regardeth the life of his beast”. Notice the word “his” denoting ownership. Animals are property. to be enjoyed and cared for, but to serve mankind.

            The earth did not design or create anyone. The divine may be seen in creation but it is not the creator. BTW, where did you see a lack of compassion on my part? I love animals. God created this all and it’s beautiful. I am a firm believer in good stewardship. I just put humans first.

            • Bill

              The world is going to hell because of the biggest lie ever told, the bible and the BS it spews.

              • Bu-bye

                I think the world is going to hell because there are too many loons like you. Good thing they’re protected too.

            • Da Pope

              Bu-bye…you believe God exists and you live your life according to how you interpret the Bible despite the possibility that your God doesn’t exist or that the original texts only vaguely resemble what you now read. You feel an inflated sense of self-righteousness because the moral code that you have accepted appears to have come from God Almighty. Because you believe it…it is so. The “snuffing” out of life occurs all the time around us. The lives of “former fetuses” are being snuffed out in wars, including those our country sanctions, through malnutrition and starvation (as we look on), through genocide (again as we look on), through preventable diseases (you guessed it…as we look on) to name a few. Bu-bye…our inaction makes us all culpable even though such thinking is inconvenient and difficult. As we are all complicit in allowing the horrific deaths of children and adults going on around us, your gibberish concerning abortion hardly registers on the ‘morality” scale.

      • NM

        keep your pants on and no harm is done!

  • Tc Kelly

    Hmm this is really odd behavior. Are they messing his yard up like geese do? This is just way…. crazy?

  • why did he hate them?

    This one is a bit mind boggling. I suppose he blamed them for something. People are strange. They put our food for wild animals and kill the ones they don’t want eating the food. They blame one species for hunting another that they like, or want to hunt, and think killing them is the answer. And so they kill squirrels for eating “bird food.” They shoot hawks because the take pheasants, and pelicans and cormorants because they might eat game fish. I saw a neighbor blow an owl out of a tree with a .410 because he thought it was scaring birds away from his bird bath. What harm did this ignorant fool imagine pelicans would do, that would lead him to slaughter thousands? Think of the time and effort this took.Wasn’t he at any time, taken aback by the scale of what he was doing? There had to be some serious hate here. People like that are rather scary.

    • Forward

      It’s a Federal crime to kill owls. If what you say it true cco should forward your ISP to the same Federal Authorities. Your neighbor will be prosecuted.

    • Bill Clinton

      I encourage you to contact your DNR though their TIP line. Your neighbor has violated a federal law and needs to be prosecuted. Your knowledge of said crime and failure to notify authorities may place you at some risk. Contact your local authorities and get this issue resolved soon.

      • yeah well......

        I was eight years old, he was in his late seventies, and it was 1968. I was sitting in the sandbox with my army men when I saw one of his back windows crank open and the barrel of the ole .410 slowly poke out. This was the usual signal that old Fred was gonna shoot a rabbit out of the garden. Only this time it was an owl out of a tree. I remember looking at that dead owl. I had never seen a bird so big.

        • Michelle

          Maybe we can pull him out of the nursing home and make an example for everyone. If we don’t the next thing you know young girls will be getting dangerous vaccines in school.

  • mel

    Silly Bill, pelicans don’t eat red meat!

  • yes sir

    Were they being pests to his farmland? If not, what an idiot…

  • He Should be Ashamed of HImself

    This person should be ashamed of himself, and yes, I agree, he probably just wanted to take his frustrations out on someone/something. How sad and unfortunate for those poor, innocent little pelican chicks. Why, do people have to be so hateful toward harmless little animals? They cannot defend themselves. Hopefully, someday, he’ll get what’s coming to him. He should be fined $1,000 for each egg/chick he destroyed, get 1 year in prison to reflect on what he did, and then spend another 5 years on probation helping save other endangered animals. It makes me sad to think this selfish jerk just about wiped out a whole colony. I am very frustrated by the economy and job situation I find myself in, too, but I would never take it out on poor, innocent little creatures. In fact, I find helping/watching animals actually makes me feel a little bit better about my uncertain future.

  • Frank Furter

    I’m heading out to his farm now. I heard it’s a good place to pick up chicks.

    • Serious

      While sickened by the story and all of these off base comments here, I’m ashamed of myself for my uncontrolled laughing at your thought provoking mood breaker. Thank you!

  • GrandmaJ

    Why are there laws written but no bite to them when they are broken? Maybe punishment would be a small cell with a whole bunch of hungry birds locked in with him. Maybe he gets handcuffed. Oh Gee, punishment of HIM vs the BIRDS he murdered? Not just killed. Chosen action is not an accident.

  • he's dead meat

    I can only imagine how the DNR wildlife specialist felt when he returned and viewed this scene. People always whine about how arbitrary DNR enforcement officers are in performing their duty. I use to talk with them occasionally when I worked at the local gun shop. The stories of wanton stupidity that they told me made my blood boil. They are spread thin and depend upon us to report violations. That didn’t have to happen in this case. He really bit a big one. I don’t think this guy will receive any leniency at sentencing time.

  • Farmer

    The Strib has more detail on this. Apparently the birds were destroying his crops. He contacted to DNR for compensation first and must not have gotten any so he took care of thing himself. I would like to hear the other side of this story. It costs hundreds of dollars per acre to plant most crops.

    • ouch

      Definitely a drag when economics collide with the needs of wildlife. It makes it very hard to follow the law. Did he do the right thing? I guess that depends upon your perspective.

  • Catherine Lindquist

    He stated that he had tried everything and that the birds had cost him $20,000. What about the Wildlife Subsidy Fund? Why didn’t he get a contract from the government and get a check for the migration of the birds? He would have made much more than $20,000. I just want to know what companies he sells his corn to, because anyone that does business with someone this stupid certainly doesn’t need my business.

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  • Know Him....

    I know the man that “commited this crime.” And all I can say is, he’s been nothing but kind and caring to everyone. I don’t know what made him do this, but around here (and in this economy) you take care of business. I believe that he did this simply because of the threat to his farmland. Yes, other precautions should have been taken.. but we’ve all felt threatened and reacted hastily to situations at one time or another. This is not like him at all, and I belive he just “fell off the wagon” this time… who knows, there are alot of stressors in this day and age.

    And then: the DNR telling him to put up a fence around the property to divert the birds?! I’ve put up fences, and let me tell you… even the “cheapest” ones, are NOT cheap! Who would pay for this? They are expecting HIM to pay for it, out of his pocket.. to put up a huge fence around the land… IT’S RIDICULOUS! People are not understanding this economy… who has the money to put up a $10,000 plus fence to divert birds.

    I agree that what he did was not right, but for pete’s sake… show some compassion for he and his family. Because when I say, this is NOT like him… I mean it. Leave it to the officials to decide what’s best.

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