The Migratory Bird Acts – do they really protect the birds?

It has been a little over a week since the furor erupted at a local park in our City when a public utility company was clear cutting trees near a Cooper Hawks Nest. The outpouring of anger by residents and concerned citizens paused the clear cutting until fall when there would be no active nests. A victory for the birds!

Several of us were pretty certain that the migrating birds were protected under the Canadian Migratory Birds Convention Act of 1994 – an act originally passed in 1917 and updated in 1994 and 2005. But, we were wrong. Raptors are not protected under the federal act. They are protected by the Wildlife Act of Manitoba!

As Tracy at the Manitoba Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project reminded me:

The original Act was written to protect birds that migrated between Canada and the US and  were either a) beneficial (songbirds eating agricultural pests or waterfowl which were hunted) or b) harmless to humans (puffins for example).  Birds of prey – dead or alive, whole or their constituent parts – are generally protected under provincial and territorial Acts.  In Manitoba all vultures, eagles, ospreys, hawks, falcons and owls are designated as protected species under the Wildlife Act – the Act protects them, their nests and habitat.

As I sat reading Tracy’s words, I began staring at two books on my shelf. The first one was Rosalie Edge. Hawk of Mercy. The Activist who saved nature from the Conservationists and Winter’s Hawk. Both paint a picture of wanton killing of birds, not protecting them. Rosalie Edge will use her influence and money to establish a protective area in the United States called Hawk Mountain. She will take on Audubon and all the men she knows who love sport hunting and the bagging of raptors. What a woman. Hawk Mountain is the site where the thermals are so good and birds migrating from eastern Canada and the US pass through to get to their winter grounds. You can visit Hawk Mountain and you can go there and help count migrating raptors. Google it.

Rosalie Edge was a very special woman. She was not afraid of going against the establishment. Rachel Carson has often been given the credit for sounding the early alarm against DDT in her book, Silent Spring. In fact, it was Edge that was raising concerns fourteen years before Carson. Edge was a leader in seeing the need to really conserve the birds and protect them against humans.

The book is a good read. It shows the real attitudes towards birds at the turn of the century – the impact of sport hunting. Edge had the strong constitution to take on some of the most powerful men at the time and win. Hawk Mountain remains today a place of refuge for the migrating birds and, of course, my dear raptors. I am actually including provincial wildlife acts of Canada at the bottom of today’s blog. If you wish to read The Migratory Bird Act of Canada (MBAC) it can be accessed by Googling.

So lesson learned: When demanding protection for raptors in your province, you need to go to the provincial wildlife acts which I have included below!

I went to check on Little Tiny Bob at the Foulshaw Moss Nest in Cumbria. He has been getting stronger and growing the past few days. He also appears to have gained some confidence – a very good thing. We saw that in Tiny Tot as he began to get so clever in order to get food. Blue 35 has been doing really well feeding the trio. I am really proud of her and White YW keeps the fish coming in.

All of the Bobs were full. Little Tiny Bob just wanted to go to sleep and there was enough fish for mom to have a good meal, too. Any food insecurities seem to be dissipating on this nest. Yes! That is a good thing on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Tiny Tot was waiting on the nest and hoping for a fish drop early this morning. Jack did not disappoint. He arrived with a fish at 7:40:36.

“Thanks, Dad!”

Jack took off and left Tiny to his fish. Tiny continued mantling. He knows there is an adult intruder in the area and he doesn’t want to loose his fish.

Sadly there has been no fish delivery at the Cowlitz PUD nest. Those babies have gone through all that food they ate yesterday. They were starving. They are once again food begging. Electra called out to Wattsworth for a long time. She left the nest and I thought she was returning with a fish for the babies but she wasn’t gone long enough – she came in with bark. Of course, Wattsworth had to come sniffing around. What a lazy Osprey! I guess Electra will have to leave the babies and go fishing again today if they are going to survive.

The babies were cold and crying for food.

No sooner than Electra had that piece of wood on the nest than Wattsworth appears thinking it was a fish. Does he have another family? Is he just a lazy osprey? Yes, I do believe that birds have individual characteristics. Or is he just completely inept? Reminds me too much of Louis and the way that he treats Iris on the Hellgate Nest. Thankfully the Ravens took Iris’s eggs this year before there could be any starving chicks.

While it is true that this nest needs some rebuilding on the sides, it surely needs fish to keep the babies alive so they actually need the crib sides!!!!! Wattworth – go fishing! You make me disappointed.

I always check on Tiny Tot, Little Tiny Tot, and the Ks every morning. This time I took a deep breath. I could only see one of the Ks at the very far end near a good spot to fledge. My mind was racing telling me that they are not ready to fledge yet. I had counted the rings on K1s tail and concluded that and yet, where are they??!!!!!!!!

At that moment I remembered that there is a second camera at the Cornell site. Well, it made me feel a little better. There all three of them were but one of them is over where Big Red has been standing – on the fledge ledge. It is going to be soon. Better watch these kids while there is time!

Thank you for joining me today. Send warm wishes, as always to those wee ones who need warmth and food – the Cowlitz Kids.

Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I grab my screen shots: Achieva Credit Union, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Cowlitz PUD, and Cornell Bird Lab RTH. Thank you to Tracy at the Manitoba Peregrine Recovery for pointing out the difference in the wildlife acts.

————————————————————————————-

Here is the wording for the Canadian provincial and territorial laws:

Birds in Canada are protected under provincial and territorial statute in addition to the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994. Please consult the legislation of the relevant jurisdiction before making any decisions regarding the protected status of a bird species in Canada. The following links are provided for convenience, but may not be current.

This table provides information on legislation of other jurisdictions regarding migratory birds in Canada.

Province/TerritoryLawURL
British ColumbiaWildlife ActBritish Columbia – Wildlife ActDesignation and Exemption Regulation: Schedules A and C
AlbertaWildlife ActAlberta – Wildlife ActWildlife Regulation, Schedule 4
SaskatchewanWildlife Act, 1998Saskatchewan – Wildlife Act (PDF; 155 KB)The Wildlife Regulations, 1981 (PDF; 216 KB)
ManitobaWildlife ActManitoba – Wildlife Act: Schedule A
OntarioFish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997Ontario – Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997: Schedules 3, 7 and 8
QuebecAn Act Respecting the Conservation and Development of WildlifeQuebec – An Act Respecting the Conservation and Development of Wildlife
New BrunswickFish and Wildlife ActNew Brunswick – Fish and Wildlife Act
Nova ScotiaWildlife ActNova Scotia – Wildlife ActGeneral Wildlife Regulations
Newfoundland and LabradorWildlife ActNewfoundland and Labrador – Wildlife ActWildlife Regulations: Schedule B
Prince Edward IslandWildlife Conservation ActPrince Edward Island – Wildlife Conservation Act
NunavutWildlife ActNunavut Wildlife Act: Subsections 6(2) and 6(3)
Northwest TerritoriesWildlife ActNorthwest Territories – Wildlife ActBirds of Prey RegulationsWildlife General Regulations: Schedule General
Yukon TerritoryWildlife ActYukon Territory – Wildlife Act : Schedule H

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