FOR THE BIRDS: AN HFC INITIATIVE
All across Canada, people sheltering at home have delighted in the birds outside their windows. Now millions of migratory birds are arriving from their wintering grounds to the south. These birds, many so small they fit into the palm of a child’s hand, have flown thousands of kilometres to make their nests and raise their young in our forests. They have a few short months to ensure the survival of their kind.
A long standing federal and international law, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, says it is illegal to destroy birds or their nests during breeding season but this law is not working. Across Canada, whole forests are cut down while the birds are on their nests. The only way to enforce the law so it actually protects the birds is to require a ‘silent season’. This means all the machines cutting and hauling trees out of our forests fall silent during nesting season. The birds can safely sing their hearts out.
What can we do?
CELEBRATE the miraculous arrival of so many beautiful birds – from tiny ruby-throated hummingbirds to brilliant warblers to the shy hermit thrush.
Check out these gorgeous photographs.
Kids and grown-ups, make paintings or drawings or sculptures and enter them in our contest at our Facebook page.
SHARE this email with as many people as you can.
Post your pictures on our Healthy Forest Coalition Facebook page and on Instagram and Twitter with #forthebirdscanada.
If you’ve taken photographs, post them on https://www.inaturalist.org/ or https://ebird.org/ .
Please email the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change at EC@canada.ca , preferably with a cc to your MP and your MLA.
Here’s a possible version. Your own words are even better:
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson,
Our migratory birds need your help. The Migratory Birds Convention Act says it is illegal to destroy birds or their nests during breeding season but the law isn’t being enforced. We need a silent season in all our forests during breeding season. That means no logging operations (including the building of logging roads) from the beginning of May to the end of July. The dates may vary across the country but the principle is the same. Please help birds like the Canada Warbler shelter in place safely while they nest and raise their babies in our forests.
(Your name and province)
If you can, add a picture you have made to the email.
You could email the Prime Minister too at firstname.lastname@example.org
Migratory Birds Convention Act
The purpose of the Migratory Birds Convention Act (MBCA) is to protect and conserve migratory bird populations and individuals. Legal protection extends to their nests, eggs, and any part of the bird.
The killing or harming of the birds or destruction or disturbance of nests and eggs is unlawful regardless of intent. Harm that results from human activities that are not directed at the birds or nests is called ‘incidental take’ because it occurs incidental to otherwise lawful activity. The law is clear: Incidental take is a contravention of the MBCA. With respect to birds nesting in forested habitats, activities that result in incidental take may include forest harvesting, stand thinning, brush removal, site clearing, and road construction and maintenance if they are done during the nesting period.
Nearly all native birds in Canada are protected, even if they don’t migrate. The only native species that are excluded are birds of prey (hawks, owls, eagles, falcons), kingfishers, ravens, crows, jays, and three species in the blackbird family (rusty blackbirds, common grackles, and brown‐headed cowbirds). The excluded species were viewed as detrimental to humans when the Act was originally adopted in 1916.
To learn more about the MBCA, see the Government of Canada websites:
Species covered under the MBCA:
Legal protection of migratory birds: Overview:
Migratory birds: Conservation, research, regulations, monitoring and permits relating to migratory birds:
Frequently asked questions:
Migratory Birds Convention Act and Regulations:
Migratory Birds Convention Act:
Most recently in MAY of 2019
The HFC has recently reached out to all of our MLAs urging them to
consider in a non-partisan way, how forest policy might be changed so that Nova
Scotia can regain a healthy natural forest.
Read the Full Letter we sent to Nova Scotian MLAs
A short cover letter can be read below.
The HFC and EAC rallied outside the Halifax Courthouse in support of Pictou Landing First Nation and local fishermen.
The HFC calls on the Nova Scotia Government to Honour the Boat Harbour closure in 2020.
The 'Independent Review of Forest Practices' in Nova Scotia has finally been released!
(i.e. The Lahey Report)
The HFC is hosting both the Executive Summary and the much larger Addendum Report below.
Here is a link to the documents hosted on the NS Dept. of Lands and Forestry website.
Raymond Plourde of the Ecology Action Centre offered a well-reasoned response.
(Originally published in The Chronicle Herald, September 8, 2018)
Paul Pross summarized the HFCs response:
(Published by The Halifax Examiner, September 14, 2018)
When the Nova Scotia Legislature met for its 2018 Spring session the HFC prepared a series of weekly briefing memos, which we hoped would alert them to the serious issues affecting forest policy. At the same time we circulated the memos to our supporters, through Forest Alerts, and encouraged them to take up these issues with their MLAs and/or in the local media.
In the links to the right we present the memos in the order in which they were sent. We do this for the record and also to help our supporters and others to track these issues as they develop and work their way through public debate.
Most memos were compiled by Paul Pross with assistance from Bob Bancroft (March 5) and Don Wilson (April 3). Peter Ritchie compiled the memo for March 19. Chris Kennedy and Mike Lancaster provided technical support.
Nova Scotia is fortunate in having a cadre of investigative journalists who are prepared to undertake the careful and time-consuming research needed to write about the issues we address here. In these memos there are links to their work, particularly that of Joan Baxter, Linda Pannozzo and Ralph Surette.
The time for change is now.
All photos and logos are the property of The Nova Scotia Healthy Forest Coalition except where otherwise credited and used with permission.