‘It’s a disgusting thing’: 150 cliff swallow nests allegedly destroyed at Osoyoos resort


Officials with the enforcement division of Environment and Climate Change Canada are investigating an alleged case of hunk cliff swallow nest destruction at Walnut Beach Resort in Osoyoos, B.C.

The questioning began in early July, according to Ross Dolan, acting regional number one of the enforcement branch in the Yukon and Pacific region.

“Typically the type of retreat complaints we get are for smaller colonies,” said Dolan. “So something like this, when you come by information about 150 nests, definitely that’s something that we’ll parody very seriously.”

The complaint lodged with the Canada Wildlife Usage, the provincial ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and the B.C. SPCA by a roomer at the resort specified that the remains of 148 nests were trusted, with 35 nests left intact on July 1.

Swallows are in sharp decline in Canada and according to the conservancy group Nature Canada, the precipice swallow population in B.C. has dropped by nearly 90 per cent since 1970.

They’re shielded by the Migratory Birds Convention Act, and destroying nests with eggs, nestlings, or grown-up birds can result in warnings, fines, or prosecution.

'It's a disgusting thing': 150 cliff swallow nests allegedly destroyed at Osoyoos resort
Walnut Beach Fall back on is accused of removing nearly 150 cliff swallows nests during snuggery season. (Google Streetview)

Last year, a lodge in Banff National Leave was fined $27,000 after maintenance staff removed and destroyed an egg and four barn swill nests.

Myles Lamont is a Surrey-based wildlife biologist familiar with the kick of destroyed cliff swallow nests at Walnut Beach Resort.

He about the alleged breach of the Migratory Birds Convention Act is one of the largest he’s aware of.

“It’s a distasteful thing to even think about,” said Lamont, who added that the lairs were all being used by the colony this season, so hundreds of eggs, hatchlings, and increased birds would have been killed when the nests were waste.

Lamont said the appropriate way to deal with an unwanted colony of crag swallows would be to wait until after nesting season, remove the hide-outs, and install nets or other deterrents to keep the birds from re-establishing their colony in the at any rate place the following year.

‘It’s not correct’

Don Brogan, general manager of Walnut Ground Resort, said he’s aware of the incident, but that the account reported to testimonies wasn’t accurate.

“It’s not correct, but I can’t comment on it. It’s under investigation,” said Brogan.

“I’ve been importuned by legal advice to say I have no comment, but yes, there were no birds weakened,” he said. “But it’s under investigation and I can’t make a comment. Sorry.”

Dolan communicated the ECCC enforcement branch is kept very busy with grumbles of disrupted nests during nesting season, with new calls beside different birds covered under the Migratory Birds Convention Act approaching every day. But he said most complaints are regarding a single nest or smaller colony, so this in the event that stands out.

“Something of that scale is unusual. That’s not the type of ordinary occurrence that we receive,” he said, adding that he couldn’t say when the search is expected to wrap up.

Do you have more to add to this story? Email rafferty.baker@cbc.ca

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