Felled trees in Petaluma worry birders

A stand of eucalyptus trees used as nesting habitat by egrets and herons along the Petaluma River was felled Sunday night, worrying birders and environmentalists about the birds' future.

The work, planned for several years, is part of a Caltrans project to reconstruct the Highway 101-Petaluma Boulevard South interchange and widen the highway along that stretch.

David Keller of the Petaluma River Council snapped photos of construction crews working under floodlights Sunday evening, cutting down the 50- to 80-foot trees across from Shollenberger Park.

He found it suspicious that construction crews would conduct the dangerous work at night.

Safety was indeed an issue, said James Cameron, a deputy director at the Sonoma County Transportation Authority, which coordinates local transportation projects.

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