[Tweeters] Fw: Migratory Birds Legislation in the US and Canada

Guy Monty glmonty at poecile.com
Tue Dec 14 10:00:33 PST 2004

Hi Wayne, and Tweeters,

Just for accuracies sake, I would point out that Red-tailed Hawk nests
are not protected by Canadian federal laws outside of the breeding season.
Individual provinces can enact legislation to protect them outside of the
nesting season, but I am not aware of any that do. British Columbia has no
legislation that protects the nest, or nest site, of Red-tailed Hawks
outside of the nesting season. So, if this had happened in BC, there would
not be any prosecution, because it would be perfectly legal. Even for those
few nests that are protected outside of the nesting season (ie. Bald Eagle,
Osprey, Great Blue Heron), there has been an extremely low rate of
prosecution in BC. There was a high profile case in Nanoose on Vancouver
Island a few years ago that pointed out a great problem with the way the
legislation worked at that time. A landowner had a tiny waterfron lot with a
famous eagle nest tree right in the middle of it. This nest was highly
visible, known to all in the community, and had been extensively monitored
for over 25 years. As the potential price of the lot rose, the landowner
finally decided that the penalty was not a deterrant, and removed the tree.
He was fined $5000, which was the maximum fine at the the time. He smiled
broadly as he wrote out the cheque. On a lot worth $800000, this essentially
became a development fee. Because of this, the local naturalist community
lobbied hard for a change to the penalty. The current maximum fine is now
$50000 and can include jail time. But, again, there is a catch. With the
current situation with the Provincial finances, prosecutors, judges and
court houses are at a premium. Thus, charges laid under the BC Wildlife Act
are not tried, unless they involve threats to human safety, or they involve
the potential for very large fines. So even if a Red-tailed Hawk nest was
removed during the nesting season, when they are protected by Provincial
law, it is doubtful that anyone would be prosecuted.
Guy L. Monty
Parksville, BC

----- Original Message -----
From: "Wayne C. Weber" <contopus at telus.net>
To: "TWEETERS" <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Sent: Friday, December 10, 2004 10:47 PM
Subject: [Tweeters] Fw: Migratory Birds Legislation in the US and Canada

> Tweeters,


> The recent publicity about the destruction of the Red-tailed Hawk nest

> adjacent to Central Park in New York City has underlined inadequacies

> in the laws protecting raptor nests in the US-- or at least in the

> interpretation of those laws.


> Had a similar event occurred in Canada, it would probably have been

> considered illegal, and there would have been at least a possibility

> of prosecution of the persons responsible.


> I am attaching a copy of a message I sent to the BIRDCHAT E-mail

> group, which may interest those of you concerned about this issue.



> Wayne C. Weber

> Delta, BC

> contopus at telus.net



> ----- Original Message -----

> From: Wayne C. Weber <contopus at telus.net>

> To: BIRDCHAT <birdchat at listserv.arizona.edu>

> Cc: BARRY KENT MCKAY <mimus at sympatico.ca>; MARCEL GAHBAUER

> <marcel at migrationresearch.org>

> Sent: Friday, December 10, 2004 10:29 PM

> Subject: Migratory Birds Legislation in the US and Canada



> > Birdchatters,

> >

> > Recent messages from Barry Kent McKay, Marcel Gahbauer, and others

> > indicate some confusion about legislation protecting migratory birds

> > in the US and Canada.

> >

> > The Migratory Birds Convention is a treaty signed between the US and

> > Canada in 1916. However, a treaty is meaningless unless implemented

> by

> > legislation on each side of the border.

> >

> > The Migratory Birds Convention has been implemented by the Migratory

> > Bird Treaty Act in the US, and the Migratory Birds Convention Act in

> > Canada. The Canadian act was amended in 1994, and the 1994 version

> is

> > the current one. The two pieces of legislation have similar, but not

> > identical, provisions. Even the list of species protected is not

> > identical in the two countries.

> >

> > The interpretation of the provisions respecting the destruction of

> > nests of protected species has been different in the two countries.

> It

> > was my understanding that, in the US, protection has always been

> > extended only to active, occupied nests (i.e., those containing eggs

> > or young). In Canada, protection has generally been extended to

> active

> > and inactive nests of species which reuse their nests year after

> year

> > (e.g. raptors, herons, cormorants, Cliff and Barn Swallows. However,

> > this is an interpretation only, subject to court decisions, and is

> not

> > spelled out in the legislation per se.

> >

> > In British Columbia, for example, application of this policy to

> > provincial highways has resulted in a cessation of the formerly

> > widespread practice of removing Cliff Swallow nest from highway

> > bridges outside of the breeding season.

> >

> > In a nutshell, it appears that the destruction of Pale Male's nest,

> > while not illegal in the US, would have been considered illegal in

> > Canada, and could have been the subject of a prosecution.

> >

> > The US has taken a narrow interpretation of the provision protecting

> > nests of protected species, while Canada has taken a broader

> > interpretation (although this provision is still widely ignored--

> > witness the thousands of nests of migratory birds destroyed every

> > year, without permits, in logging operations). What is needed, it

> > seems, is a broader interpretation of the U.S. legislation, or else

> an

> > amendment to the legislation that extends protection for nests of

> some

> > bird species (such as raptors) to the non-breeding season.

> >

> >

> > Wayne C. Weber

> > Delta, BC

> > contopus at telus.net

> >

> >



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