MACOMB TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit-area man faces probation and $4,500 in reimbursement to the state after three young hawks were fatally shot amid a dispute with a tree removal company.
Arthur Anderson, 65, pleaded no contest earlier this month, Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources said Friday. A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but is used as such at sentencing.
Anderson hired the company in June to remove trees on his property but the company refused to disturb the trees, which were part of the habitat for the Cooper’s hawks, according to the state.
At least five rounds from a shotgun later were fired at the birds’ nest. Three hawks were struck and fell to the ground.
An anonymous tip was reported to the Department of Natural Resources poaching hotline. Conservation officers spoke with Anderson and collected evidence at his Macomb Township home, north of Detroit.
They initially were told the shots were fired at nuisance squirrels, but Anderson later told the officers he was angry with the company because it wouldn’t remove the tree where the nest was located, the department said.
He was ordered to reimburse the state $1,500 for each hawk killed and serve six months probation. The shotgun used to kill the hawks was seized.
The Associated Press was unable Friday evening to find a telephone number for Anderson. It was not clear if he has an attorney.
The mid-sized Cooper’s hawks mostly hunt other birds and small mammals through stealth, according to the Audubon Guide to North American Birds.
“All birds of prey are protected at both the state and federal level and are an important and enjoyable part of Michigan’s natural environment,” said Chief Dave Shaw of the department’s Law Enforcement Division.