Woodpecker problem: B.C. strata owner fails to prove $65,000 claim for bird damage on property

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      Woodpeckers peck, and this what these birds do.

      They peck on trees to find food, build a nest, and attract a mate.

      Sometimes they also peck on walls of homes and other buildings, and this is where issues arise.

      One example is the woodpecker problem experienced by property owner Mark Watson.

      Woodpeckers of the northern flicker variety drilled holes on the exterior of a B.C. strata building where Watson owns a unit.

      By the way, the northern flicker is a protected bird species in Canada.

      According to Watson, the strata council did not address the issues he raised regarding damage and the supposed losses he incurred.

      Watson filed a claim before the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal, and asked to be compensated for over $65,300.

      The amount covers, among others, $11,000 for loss of use and enjoyment of his strata unit, and $41,400.00 for lost rental income.

      At one point, Watson told the strata about a bird that “sounds like it’s working on the inside wall”.

      However, Watson is not going to get a cent.

      Tribunal vice chair J. Garth Cambrey dismissed Watson’s claim as well as the strata council’s counter-claim for costs.

      Cambrey ruled in favour of the strata, which denied it was negligent in addressing the man’s concerns.

      The strata argued that it paid for repairs, and contracted a pest control company to take care of the bird mites, remove bird nests in between the walls, as well as clean and fumigate Watson’s unit.

      The strata also said that it could not remove the woodpeckers because they are protected by law.

      It applied for a permit to dispose of or “destroy” the birds, but this was rejected by the Canadian Wildlife Service.

      However, it installed netting on the building in May 2020 to prevent the birds from returning.

      It likewise set up bird houses to draw the feathered creatures away from the walls.

      “It follows, and I find, the strata did not cause Mr. Watson to suffer damages…,” Cambrey wrote in his reasons for decision.

      The strata development consists of 30 lots in four buildings in Kimberley, a city in the Kootenay Rockies.

      Cambrey likewise noted that the strata council also discovered more woodpecker issues on other buildings.

      Online, the Canadian Wildlife Federation says northern flickers are mid-sized woodpeckers reaching around 32 centimetres.

      Northern flickers are also of two types: one with a yellow shaft, the other with red.