N.S. utility destroys nest of migratory bird while clearing trees

American Robin . Courtesy: Chris Siddle

A Nova Scotia utility’s destruction of a migratory bird nest while clearing trees is again raising the issue of how industry works in the province’s forests during nesting seasons.

Landowners in Bear River, N.S., photographed the nest of an American robin, with three eggs spilled out, after contractors hired by Nova Scotia Power cut a 20-metre swath of trees and brush near the power lines on June 26.

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Cheryl and Jay Stone, who own the rural property the power lines pass through, say utilities should consult landowners and wait until breeding season is over before ordering extensive cuts.

Scott Leslie, author of “Woodland Birds of North America,” says the presence of one nest protected under the Migratory Bird Convention Act suggests there were likely many others in the area.

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He recently identified over a dozen declining and one endangered migratory bird species in a nearby area of Annapolis County that had been opened for logging during nesting season – a finding that led to a temporary halt in the cutting at the Lake Dalhousie-Corbett Lake peninsula.

David Rodenhiser, a spokesman for the utility, says an assessment of the area was carried out and the nest was missed, and if it had been spotted the contractors would have avoided the tree.