Protect birds from being destroyed during nesting season.

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Each year, many hundreds of thousands of birds make their journey from wintering grounds in Mexico, Central and South America, to forests across Canada.  They will spend their spring and summer building nests, laying eggs, feeding and raising their young before making the long journey south in autumn.  

The Migratory Birds Convention Act (MBCA) was initiated to protect birds during the very critical few weeks while they are on breeding territory, building nests and raising their young.  Unfortunately, with the rise of industrial forestry, using large harvesting machines, a whole forest can be cut down and hauled away in  just a few days.   Any birds that happen to be nesting in such forests are certain to be destroyed or forced to abandon their nests and eggs.  Most of these birds have spent 5 to 10 days building their nest, laying eggs, and have begun incubation.  Many have young that have hatched and are being fed until they can fly.  To destroy their nests is to destroy the likelihood that those birds will produce any young after their long and arduous, risk-filled migration from the south, and their investment in time and energy building nests and laying eggs.  

We are told that industrial operators “watch for bird nests” as they operate their machines, or that some of the crews watch for nests.  As any long time naturalist will tell you, even the most experienced bird watchers can find only a tiny fraction of the nests that are built as high as 30 metres above the ground, or in dense bushes, inside tree cavities, or in carefully hidden nests on the ground.  The likelihood that industrial forestry crews in the midst of the roar of their machinery are actually finding nests is, quite frankly, entirely ludicrous.  

Is it right that we humans should destroy so many birds through what is referred to as “incidental take” - a term used to describe “the unintentional, but not unexpected” destruction of wildlife? Should migratory birds pay the ultimate price with their lives so that forests can be taken down to make 2x4s, or pulp to make toilet paper?

We are calling on Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, to insist that the Migratory Birds Convention Act be properly enforced in a pre-emptive way.  We know that the Act is not being used in a pre-emptive way, and employed only as a means of punishing only the most egregious cases of destruction “after the fact”.  That is doing nothing for prevention of loss of life.   The most effective means of preventing destruction would be through the establishment of a “singing season” (a period when birds are on nesting territory) during which there be no industrial forestry or similarly destructive operations taking place, threatening the lives of birds and other wildlife that are raising young at that time.  Progressive forestry operators are already doing as much.  It is time for ALL industrial operators to stay out of the forest during this critical time.  Please sign this petition calling for the establishment of a formal time period - appropriate for each region of Canada - during which forestry operations be properly restricted to allow migratory birds to nest and raise their young.