New NCC boss backs off on bird feeder ban

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Deborah Powell


Deborah Powell

GATINEAU – Bird lovers’ feathers were certainly    ruffled by the National Capital Commission’s (NCC) decision to remove the winter bird feeders from the trails in Gatineau Park. In reply to one skier’s questions, the NCC stated that the change would  “allow the park to better respect one of its own conservation principles: minimizing human interference with natural processes. We      cannot send the conflicting message of asking our      visitors to avoid feeding wild animals while we do the opposite.”
However, Bird Studies Canada (BSC), a national research group, says that feeding birds doesn’t make them forget how to forage for food in the wild. “It gets people interested in birds and nature because it gives people a close-up view,” said BSC’s Kerrie Wilcox.
Claire Charron, an Aylmer resident and a Gatineau Park trail user, agrees with BSC and was upset enough by the NCC’s decision that she created an online petition that has     collected close to 400               signatures.
“I think the NCC is missing the boat on the educational aspect of the feeders and how they allow the casual passer-by to connect with nature. Bird feeders aren’t the kind of interference that hurts natural processes, like polluting rivers and destroying habitats do,” Charron said.
The latest news on the bird feeder situation came in a February 4 interview that Ottawa Citizen reporter, Joanne Chianello, had with the NCC’s new CEO, Mark Kristmanson’s appointment was  ann-ounced at the beginning of February.
“I think we can put a moratorium on taking down bird feeders … The bird feeders can go back up next year and we’ll look at that on a year-by-year basis,” said Kristmanson.
Charron’s petition can be found at http://chn.ge/1hB0bcB