MENOMINEE — A pair of sandhill cranes who had nested near Bridgeview apartments were shot by Menominee police officers about two weeks ago.

City Manager Tony Graff said there was a permit issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to shoot them, however this was not known by community members who were concerned by the incident at the time.

“I was down in the laundry room, and mentioned to another lady that was down there how much I had been enjoying the sandhill cranes,” said Mary Moss, a resident of Bridgeview, “and she said, ‘The police came and shot them.’ It’s that time of year (for them to have eggs) so they must have had eggs, and she said they destroyed the nest, too.”

Moss said she first tried to call the office of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for Menominee County, trying to find out if there had been any kill permits issued by the DNR. “I couldn’t get an answer, so I called the DNR office in Lansing. I was told there, they looked at their map and, according to their records, they had not issued any kill permits at all for this area,” she said.

Moss also said that the DNR usually only issues kill permits for cranes when they are after crops or doing very serious damage. “He suggested that it could have been Fish and Wildlife (U.S. Fish and wildlife Service).”

Moss said she talked to the police, and said the dispatcher knew about the situation and told her they were ordered to do it. She said she also called the city manager, who she said was also aware of the situation and told her to talk to her apartment manager about it.

When Moss talked to her apartment manager, Moss said that she was told the city had ordered the shootings. “The city manager talked like our apartment manager had ordered it,” she said.

At the end of her conversation with the apartment manager, Moss said the apartment manager told her that she had heard the cranes had attacked a child, which Moss said didn’t make sense to her.

“No. 1, this is an adult apartment building. We don’t have kids here; these are developmentally challenged adults or seniors. If there was a child here, why was he so unsupervised — by the river, by the way, where he could drown — that he could harass these cranes or their nest to the point where they felt threatened enough to attack? It seems to me the police or the DNR would’ve mentioned that,” Moss said, “If that had happened, I could see where the DNR would issue a kill permit.”

Graff said a kill permit was issued from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on May 15, and gave a copy of the permit to the EagleHerald. The permit was initially applied for and granted to Jennifer Stardl of the Menominee Housing Commission. The permit application says that the cranes had become “very protective and aggressive of their area,” and were causing damage to the ground floor of the Bridgeview building. According to the application, the birds were seeing their reflections in the apartment windows and vehicles, causing them to peck and attack their reflections, resulting in broken glass from windows and damage to window screens and vehicles.

According to the application, attempts to chase off the cranes were unsuccessful, as were attempts to cover reflective surfaces with paper and paint.

Graff said he was made aware of the situation in May. He said because of a Menominee ordinance that prevents residents from discharging firearms within city limits, the police would have to be put in charge of carrying out the permit. He said they made sure having the police shoot the cranes was within the law, and it was. “It’s a sad situation, and I’d rather see the officers doing other things,” he said.

Graff said he had tried to contact the Bay Beach Wildlife Rehabilitation Center before the cranes were killed to see if it would be possible for them to bring the cranes there, however because the center was closed due to the pandemic, he said he wasn’t able to reach them.