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The Birds are returning

20 March 2019

The Migratory Birds Convention Act (MBCA) is federal legislation that protects most species of birds in Canada.  Provincial legislation (e.g., Wildlife Act in BC and AB) also provides protection to additional species. Protections afforded to birds and their nests may impact your projects if they involve work in areas where birds may be nesting.

Here is what you need to know to help manage these risks:

1. Legislation

Under the Migratory Birds Regulations, “no person shall disturb, destroy or take a nest, egg, nest shelter, eider duck shelter or duck box of a migratory bird.”

2. Timing

Most birds start nesting in April or early May and are finished by August; however, timing is variable depending on the species and location. Some species nest year-round. Canadian Wildlife Service provides information on breeding bird activity to support the planning of activities to reduce the risk.

3. Impacts

In addition to negatively impacting bird populations, client activities that disturb birds violate the MBCA. The federal government considers this “incidental take.” The penalties for violating the MBCA can be stiff, ranging from large fines to jail time, and apply to both companies and individuals.

4. What can we do?

The best way to reduce this risk is to schedule activities outside the breeding season. However, this isn’t always possible. Plan your activities early with our team of experienced ecologists, so we can help find ways to mitigate your risk and provide practical advice and solutions.

For a Live Migration Map.

Contact our Terrestrial Science Team to learn how to best manage your risk
and to answer bird or wildlife related issues.

Erica Crowther
P: 587 952 1564  

Stephen Symes
P: 587 952 1467

Mike Boyd
P: 778 945 5231


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