Ornithologists and photographers are asked not to harass breeding migratory birds by using recorded bird calls

August 1st, 2019 – Québec, Quebec

With summer already well underway, photographers and ornithologists are heading out more and trying to get a glimpse of their favourite birds. However, Environment and Climate Change Canada has noted a new trend. Some people have begun to using recorded bird calls to lure birds out of their nesting sites for a better photo or to observe them better.

People may not know this type of practice could be considered contrary to the provisions of the Migratory Birds Regulations and the Wildlife Area Regulations. In addition, the disturbance caused by the overuse of recorded calls is harmful to migratory birds, especially if they are species at risk. Use of these devices may result in wasted energy for birds and affect their feeding or resting periods. Birds subjected to this type of practice can also lose their territory, their ability to nest, and can be exposed to their rivals or potential predators.

Last March, Joël Moreau, an amateur photographer, pleaded guilty to violations of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and the Canada Wildlife Act. He had harassed migratory nesting birds using electronic recordings of bird calls on more than one occasion, first at the Marais-Léon-Provancher nature reserve, in 2015, and then at the Cap Tourmente National Wildlife Area, in 2017. An investigation was initiated in 2015 by Environment and Climate Change Canada’s wildlife officers following complaints from the public. The officers were then able to confirm the techniques used by the individual during his activities.

Environment and Climate Change Canada wishes to remind ornithologists and photographers of the importance of carrying out their activities in compliance with regulations and codes of ethics applicable to the territories visited, to ensure the long-term conservation of wildlife populations.

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