Dec 172018
 

On November 19th 2018, ERO # 013-4124 was posted by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNRF) on the Environmental Registry of Ontario, titled “Proposal to establish a hunting season for double-crested cormorants in Ontario”.

Double-crested Cormorants – April 2018 – Don Munro

Chances are you have not seen this already, as it is not getting a lot of media coverage, and the small way in which it has been presented for public scrutiny by its authors is questionable, as is the timing and the limited time frame (45 days) to reply to the government about it. We encourage all who see this for the incredibly ridiculous idea that it is, to respond vigorously against it through the method provided you by MNRF, and to do so immediately since on January 3rd 2019 the door on the issue will be closed to you.

To give an idea of some of the things this proposal is offering, and many of the points that sensible, intelligent, and compassionate  humans are arguing against it, please continue reading below.

 

 

 

Proposed legislation would:

• designate double-crested cormorants as a “game” bird species,
• create a province wide annual hunting season from March 15 until December 31,
• allow anyone holding a valid Ontario Outdoors Card and small game hunting license to kill up to 50 cormorants per day (1,500 per month or more than 14,000 per season) and,

Key arguments against include:

• hunt would cause unimaginable cruelty by allowing the wholesale, uncontrolled, impossible to monitor, slaughter of cormorants across the province,
• devastate and possibly eradicate a recovered native wildlife species,
• result in disturbance, destruction and death of numerous federally protected non-target bird species such as Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets and White Pelicans,
• potentially damage natural ecosystems
• encourage the worst form of “slob hunting”
• endanger and disturb the public by allowing hunters to discharge firearms throughout the spring, summer and fall season when lakes and natural areas are populated by cottagers and tourist
• this needlessly demonizes wildlife at a time when the planet is experiencing the loss of species unprecedented in human history
• There is no substantive body of evidence proving that cormorants are depleting fish stocks or causing any ecological problems whatsoever
• it is broadly acknowledged that the presence of cormorants indicates a healthy fishery
• Cormorants being fish-eating birds are not ecologically able to deplete their own food supply,
• Small congregations could be wiped out in just a few minutes or an hour, while larger colonies could be destroyed in just a few days or a week. Years of effort and thousands of dollars to recover the species will have been for nothing.
• these birds nest in colonies, so it would be quite easy for a hunter to go up to a colony where they’re nesting and easily take out an entire colony in a single day
• Common terns and great blue herons can also nest in the same areas, so they can also have their breeding affected by this disruption. If entire colonies are eradicated,  it’s unclear how this would affect an area’s ecosystem.
• Although it’s true that cormorants can cause damage to properties, the law already allows property owners to deal with this problem. Under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, property owners may harass, capture or kill wildlife that is causing or is about to cause damage to their property.
• DDT use dramatically decreased cormorant populations in the 1960s. When DDT was banned, they made a comeback. The recent rise in cormorant numbers is the result of a recovery from a previously precarious position. In fact, it appears that cormorant populations have plateaued in  recent years. Yet, many people still think they are over-abundant
• humans deciding they are going to manipulate nature almost always ends up making things worse
• Non-human lives matter outside of measurable value to humans.
• The current law already addresses extenuating circumstances with cormorant populations. Culls have taken place to protect sensitive areas and heritage sites. This case-by-case approach is much safer than lifting protection entirely. It allows us to be sure that intervention is justified before we take action.

You can comment to the EBR either registered or anonymously or write directly to the MNRF with “EBR 013-4124 Cormorant” in the subject line at: wildlifepolicy@ontario.ca

Tim Dyson and Drew Monkman

Dec 152018
 

Cooper’s Hawk: I had a Cooper’s Hawk visiting the neighborhood for a couple of days in the last week of December. Also had a pile of grey feathers (likely a Mourning Dove) in the garden near our feeder at this time. I managed to get a reasonable photo when it was here (Dec. 29th). Thought you might be interested.   Evan Thomas, Sandalwood Drive, Peterborough

Cooper’s Hawk – January 2019 – Evan Thomas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Eastern Coyote Reports: Someone in our area (Peterborough Golf and Country Club) is reporting sightings of coyotes just about every day. On December 22, one was walking down the middle of Franmor Drive at about 2:00 pm. Our neighbour had her Golden Retriever out at about 10:00 and she noticed two coyotes coming towards the dog. Quick action got the dog inside as she is deaf and old.
More coyotes have been seen searching for rabbits in the middle of our units over the last several weeks – usually in the early mornings. Last night (December 24) one tripped our motion detector at our back porch at about 11:00 pm. Jim Watt

Snowy Owl: Here are some pictures of a Snowy Owl at the Peterborough Airport on December 26 at  about 4:00 PM. Apart from the one “artistic” shot, these images present a hunting sequence. After the kill, we have the gulp (vole’s tail visible if you look closely) and then a satisfied stare-down.  Dennis Vanderspek

Snowy Owl with vole – Dec. 26, 2018 – Ptbo Airport – Dennis Vanderspek

Snowy Owl swallowing vole (tail visible) -Dec. 26, 2018 – Ptbo Airport – Dennis Vanderspek

Snowy Owl – a satisfied stare-down – Dec. 26, 2018 – Ptbo Airport – Dennis Vanderspek

Snowy Owl flying – Dec. 26, 2018 – Ptbo Airport – Dennis Vanderspek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ring-necked Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) (1)
– Reported Dec 24, 2018 by Drew Monkman
– Cabot Street, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50988398
– Comments: “Don Frederick of 1224 Cabot St. saw adult male pheasant walk across his yard”

Ring-necked Pheasant – Lindsay – Nov. 2, 2016 – Jeff Keller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coyotes in Peterborough:

  1. There is a nightly serenade, pretty much every night after midnight, coming from the St. Peter’s High School/Medical Drive/Jackson Creek area. I really don’t know how many are in the chorus, but it sounds like a lot. I have a client who drives a cab during the wee hours of the morning, and he reports seeing Coyotes all over town. Folks who still let their cats wander at night should take note. The Coyotes will accomplish what the by-law could not. I will now revise my observation of a “gray, squirrel-eating fox” earlier this year and admit it was likely a Coyote. Larry Love (December 23)

Eastern Coyote on Otonabee River – Tom Northey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. We live near Barnardo Park in Peterborough. Over the past few weeks (early to mid-December), we’ve been hearing coyotes howl at night, and it’s getting louder. We’ll sit on our front porch and listen – the kids think it’s amazing. I suspect they’re in the green corridor between Chemong and Hilliard. People have started parking at the tennis courts there after dark and sitting listening to them. It’s almost like being back in the North. Kennedy Gordon

Coyotes in field on Stewart Line (Randy Therrien)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. On Monday night, December 3, at about 10:30 pm we had a family of six Coyotes make a visit -( Mom, Pop and the 4 full grown kids). They were right up under our bird feeders by our back deck. We are on Franmor drive. We have the TSW Canal on our east side and the 5th hole of the PTBO Golf and Country Club on the north.

This is the first sighting in our area as the TSW waterway usually keeps them on the east side of the Canal where there is lots of bush right up to the University for them to roam. In the past I have seen one or two on the ice along hole #7. With the work being done on the TSW they have created a coffer dam where it narrows down going south towards the Parkhill Swing Bridge, and I am assuming that they have crossed there. We have notified all of our neighbours with pets (no leaving them out on a leash ) an have used Babcock and Robinson who are the property managers for the units along Armour Road that border on the golf course.  Jim Watt, Peterborough

Coyote – Maggie Sharpe – Oct. 2014 – Cave Road

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red-bellied Woodpecker (December 17):   For the second day in a row, we’ve had a Red bellied woodpecker at our peanut feeder. Mike Barker, Algonquin Boulevard 

Red-bellied Woodpecker – Lynde Creek, Whitby- Photo by Brian Crangle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) (1)
– Reported Dec 22, 2018 15:10 by Dave Milsom
– Lakefield–Sewage Lagoons, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “continuing male”

Male Wood Duck – Jeff Keller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) (1)
– Reported Dec 22, 2018 10:40 by Steve Paul
– Peterborough Airport, Fraserville, Ontario, CA (44.236, -78.359), Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50873671
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “Located inside the airport compounds. Very observant of surroundings – had 360 view all around it but did not move the entire time I was watching it. Kept distance and took pictures with zoom.”

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (1)
– Reported Dec 21, 2018 12:45 by Ben Taylor
– Engleburn ave, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50844374
– Comments: “Sitting in a tree at the south end of the island overlooking the mudflat.”

White-tailed Deer: On December 14, from about 8 – 8:45 am, four deer (one small one from this spring and three females/juveniles) were milling around in the field about 80 m south of our house south of Lakefield. At 8:50, all four of them swam the Otonabee (midway between Locks 24 & 25), west to east and came up on County Road 32 before heading into the woods.

I also saw a big eight-point buck in the same field about 1:30 pm on Nov. 19. It swam about a third of the way across the river, then turned around and came back to shore quite close to the house, before  going off into the fields to the west of us. He was very cryptic against the background of a winter foliage of dried goldenrod – the colour of the deer and goldenrod matched almost perfectly! Annamarie Beckel, Lakefield

White-tailed Deer – Stephenie Armstrong – June 1, 2017

White-tailed Deer – Randy Therrien

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) (1)
– Reported Dec 19, 2018 09:40 by Erica Nol
– Division at 5th line, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Continuing bird, in Eastern White Cedar at se corner of intersection. Sat on cedar rail fence in woods.”

Carolina Wren – April 2018 – Don Munro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (1)
– Reported Dec 19, 2018 13:45 by Jeff Stewart
– 621 Carveth Drive, Millbrook, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Cont. bird, on lower ledge of east side of white Ont. government building”

Common Raven – I see a pair of ravens at least daily west of Omemee, adjacent to the Pigeon River wetlands. Surely they’ve resided here for awhile. The book “The Ravenmaster” by Christopher Skaife
caused me to observe them more closely. I’m intrigued. Kate Arthur
N.B. Yes, ravens have really been increasing in number and distribution south of the Canadian Shield in Ontario over the past decade. I now see them regularly in Peterborough and often hear of reports from the GTA, too. They are breeding south of the Shield as well, including a pair near Omemee. Interesting phenomenon. DM 

Common Raven – Wikimedia

Golden Eagle (left) & Common Raven at Petroglyph Provincial Park. Feeding on deer carcass. (Tim Dyson)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) (1)
– Reported Dec 16, 2018 08:00 by Bill Crins
– Peterborough CBC, Area 4, East City to E. edge, W. of Douro, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “seen between 9:35 – 9:40; relatively large wren; reddish brown cap, back, wings, tail; strong white supercilium extending almost to nape; relatively long, slightly downcurved beak; buffy coloration on breast, belly and flanks; tail occasionally cocked upwards; bird was silent during observation period; bird was noted by observing movement in vines adjacent to old rail fence; did not respond very readily to spishing, but kept moving along old fence and in viny tangles; extremely skulky; found in NW. corner of junction of Division Rd. and Douro 5th Line, in low area beside driveway (did not see bird go to feeders, but there were feeders in the backyard up the driveway)”

Carolina Wren – April 2018 – Don Munro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) (1)
– Reported Dec 17, 2018 15:35 by Erica Nol
– Airport Rd dead end, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “continuing bird; perched on utility pole at dead end of Airport Rd, east of large Flying Colours building”

Snowy Owl – Lindsay – Dec. 20, 2014 – Tim Corner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) (1)
– Reported Dec 16, 2018 14:40 by Matthew Tobey
– Peterborough–Airport Rd Railroad, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50736266
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “Subadult bird hunting in swamp along railroad tracks just northeast of Brown Ln, less than 50m from nest where 2 GHOW owlets fledged this spring.”

Great Horned Owl – Dec. 23, 2015 – Glen Grills

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northern Saw-whet Owl (Aegolius acadicus) (1)
– Reported Dec 16, 2018 08:10 by Rene Gareau
– Peterborough CBC Area 7, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50747151
– Media: 1 Audio
– Comments: “Responded to playback at Harper Park. Flew in so close to investigate the tape that the bird was visible in midair right in front of us despite the dim predawn light. Audio recorded.”

Northern Saw-whet Owl (Dave Heuft)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eastern Screech-Owl (Megascops asio) (1)
– Reported Dec 16, 2018 08:10 by Dylan Radcliffe
– Peterborough CBC Area 7, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist:
– Comments: “Mervin Ln. Responded to playback.”

Eastern Screech owl – red phase – 9th Line of Selwyn Twsp – March 11, 2017 – Kathy McCue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barred Owl on Parkhill Road – This morning, Liliana Perez found a Barred Owl on Parkhill Road, about 200 metres east of Brealey Drive. It sat out in the open on a telephone cable and then in a nearby tree for at least 20 minutes. I was able to get several pictures.  Drew Monkman

 

Barred Owl – Parkhill Road – Dec. 14 2018 – Drew Monkman

Barred Owl – Parkhill Road -Dec. 14 2018 – Drew Monkman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) (1)
– Reported Dec 13, 2018 14:00 by Ben Taylor
– Peterborough–Millennium Park, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Noticed having a meal on top of the SE corner of the MNR North Block.”

Peregrine perched on steel girder – Wikimedia

Peregrine eating Rock Pigeon – Loree Stephens 2 – Jan. 13, 2015 – PRHC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) (1)
– Reported Dec 13, 2018 07:50 by Iain Rayner
– Otonabee River–between Lock 25 and Lakefield, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Comments: “Male, swimming with MALL adjacent to road…continuing I believe.”

Wood Duck – Jeff Keller

Wood Duck in flight – April 2018 – Mike Faught

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snowy Owl at Peterborough Airport – We have a visitor at the Peterborough Airport. I photographed it today, December 10.  Carl Welbourn, Kawartha Camera Club

SNOW – Dec. 10 2018 – Ptbo Airport – Carl Welbourn

SNOW 2 – Dec. 10 2018 – Ptbo Airport – Carl Welbourn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barred Owl – I photographed this owl near Peterborough (east part of 4th Line) on December 9 at 4 pm. It was a life bird for me! Trudy Gibson

Snowy Owl – Trudy Gibson – Dec. 9, 2018

 

Snowy Owl near Lindsay –  I have been taking photos of Snowy Owls in the Cunningham’s Corners area, just southeast of Lindsay. Here is one of my pictures from December 8.  Tim Corner

 

Snowy Owl – December 2018 – Lindsay area – Tim Corner

 

Greater Scaup (Aythya marila) (1)
– Reported Dec 08, 2018 08:26 by Iain Rayner
– Otonabee River–between Lock 25 and Lakefield, Peterborough, Ontario
– Map: http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=p&z=13&q=44.4132687,-78.2625462&ll=44.4132687,-78.2625462
Checklist:
– Comments: “Male swimming passively with geese and showing signs of molt. Dark rounded head peaking above eye as opposed to rear of head. Large dark nail. Grey flanks and back although still showing some dark feathers. Took pics that may help”

Greater Scaup (male) photo from Wikimedia

Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) (1)
– Reported Dec 08, 2018 09:00 by Peterborough County Birds Database
– 621 Carveth Drive, Millbrook, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50511540
– Comments: “Adult, very large accipiter with long tail, whitish-grey under parts and dark cap / white eyebrow visible, probably female by size, heard jay alarm calls first then goshawk landed near top of large maple by house then headed behind house towards bird feeders.”

Northern Goshawk – Wikimedia

Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) (1)
– Reported Nov 30, 2018 07:15 by Donald A. Sutherland
– Peterborough–Trent Rotary Rail Trail, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
– Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S50314082

Great Horned Owl – Dec. 23, 2015 – Glen Grills

American Coot (Fulica americana) (1)
– Reported Dec 02, 2018 13:13 by Steve Paul
– Peterborough–Auburn Reach Park, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Media: 1 Photo
– Comments: “Continuing bird. Out in water close to shore at south end of park.”

American Coot (Karl Egressy)

Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus) (1)
– Reported Dec 03, 2018 16:11 by Ryan Campbell
– 115 @ Tapley 1/4 Line, Peterborough, Ontario
Map:
Checklist:
– Media: 3 Photos

Snowy Owl – Nov. 29, 2018 – Lindsay area – Carl Welbourn

Dec 142018
 

Should we decimate a native bird at a time of unprecedented planet-wide species loss?  

Doug Ford’s buzz saw assault on Ontario’s environment never stops. It’s now clear that “open for business” really means “open season on the environment”. Since taking office, he has cancelled Ontario’s cap and trade program, sacked the Environmental Commissioner, and introduced Bill 66, which would allow municipalities to circumvent Greenbelt protections and even exempt developers from rules designed to protect wildlife. Then, on November 19, things turned even nastier. On that day, ERO # 013-4124 was posted by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests (MNRF) on the Environmental Registry of Ontario. It is entitled: Proposal to establish a hunting season for double-crested cormorants in Ontario.

This bonded pair of beautiful Double-crested Cormorants photographed in Campbellford could easily be slaughtered in Queen’s Park’s proposed cormorant hunt goes ahead. (Photograph by Donald Munro)

With so much other madness coming out of Queen’s Park, I was not immediately aware of this proposal. Tim Dyson, a friend and frequent contributor to this column, brought it to my attention. We have therefore decided to join forces this week and present our thoughts on this cruel, unscientific and vulgar plan. If passed in its present form, the legislation would designate double-crested cormorants as a game species, create a province-wide annual hunting season from March 15 until December 31 and allow anyone holding a valid Ontario Outdoors Card and small game hunting license to kill up to 50 cormorants per day (1,500 per month or more than 14,000 per season). The only constraint on hunters is having to dispose of the carcasses. Unlike other game, the cormorant would not be killed for food.

What we have here is clearly NOT a “hunt” of any kind. Hunting involves some level of skill on the part of the hunter and requires patience, stealth and the ability to make a clean kill. We have no issue with ethical hunting. However, what we have before us is simply a slaughter of a species that has twice before been on the Endangered Species List and yet has rebounded from extremely low numbers to now breed in relative abundance across much of the province. DDT use dramatically decreased cormorant populations in the 1960s. When DDT was banned and chemical pollution of the Great Lakes was reduced, the birds made a spectacular comeback. In fact, for many years cormorants were the poster species for the Great Lakes cleanup. The recent rise in cormorant numbers is therefore the result of a recovery from a previously precarious position. Although cormorant populations appear to have now plateaued, some sectors of the public have been led to believe that there are still too many.

The best way to think about this proposal is “slob hunting”, namely an activity in which people are content to kill for the sake of killing. In the case of cormorants, it will be child’s play for hunters to shoot the birds as they sit on their nests or fly in and out of the colony. Zero skill will be required to kill them from boats positioned only metres from nesting colonies. The young of the dead or gravely injured adults will slowly die of dehydration, hypothermia, and starvation. All of this will happen in the absence of scientific data to justify such rash action and likely without sufficient monitoring by the resource-strapped MNRF. Small congregations of cormorants could be wiped out in just a few minutes, while larger colonies could be destroyed in a matter of days. Years of effort and thousands of dollars to help this species recover from near-extirpation will have been for nothing. Supporters of the proposed slaughter argue that the cormorant population will remain at a healthy level. We are not convinced. Given the wide-open nature of the government’s proposal, how many years will it be before the double-crested cormorant becomes a species at risk once again?

It is almost certain that this slaughter will also result in the disturbance and death of federally protected, non-target bird species such as terns, gulls, herons, and egrets. Many of these birds are ground-nesters and often breed alongside cormorants in nesting colonies. When hunters go to retrieve the carcasses, nests are likely to be trampled. The “approach and open fire” in multi-species nesting colonies alone would violate federal laws. It will also disturb the public by allowing hunters to discharge firearms throughout the spring, summer and fall season when lakes and natural areas are populated by cottagers and tourists. Imagine trying to explain what’s going on to your kids. Non-hunters who enjoy the outdoors already stay clear of many natural areas during currently designated hunting seasons. This will only add to people’s stress.

It is widely known that commercial fishermen and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) and are the driving forces behind this proposal. And, to be fair, there is more than one perspective within OFAH on what is being proposed. However, let’s look at some of the so-called facts presented on their website. First, we are told that cormorants reduce game fish populations. Through careful analysis of cormorant feces, regurgitates, prey remains and stomach contents, the Canadian Wildlife Service has repeatedly found that only two percent of a cormorant’s diet is made up of game fish. Has any concerned angler or commercial fishing company done the same study? In fact, it is widely acknowledged that the presence of cormorants indicates a healthy fishery. If such were not the case, the birds could not survive in their present numbers. We should also ask ourselves, “How much commercial fishing is done on the Kawartha Lakes?”

We are also led to believe that cormorants destroy ecosystems. Clearly, the very idea that a naturally occurring species can destroy an ecosystem is preposterous. Ecosystems are not something that humans can successfully manipulate and keep the same forever. That is called a controlled area. Ecosystems and all their component species, including cormorants, are in a constant state of change. With the possible exception of invasive species, the best way to help an ecosystem is to simply allow nature to unfold as it constantly does. And, speaking of invasive species, is it at all logical to demonize a native bird in order to defend non-native species coho and chinook salmon, both of which were introduced into Lake Ontario? Does this demonstrate sound ecological logic? We are simply falling back on the old thinking of our European ancestors: scapegoat certain native but “undesirable” species – once it was wolves and now it’s cormorants – and remove them through unnatural means. All in an effort to make to fashion the natural world to our liking. Human manipulation of nature rarely turns out well.

We also hear that cormorant colonies are smelly and noisy. Indeed they are. But, they are also part of an ever-changing system with a right to exist and change naturally. We should also consider that once the birds move on through natural processes, the nutrient-rich guano they leave behind will lay the foundation for an even richer array of plant and animal life. This includes more and healthier trees than were present before the birds established colonies in the first place.

Yes, cormorants can cause damage to properties. However, Ontario law already allows property owners to deal with this problem. Under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, property owners can scare away, capture or kill most wild animals if the animal is causing property damage. Current legislation also addresses extenuating circumstances with cormorant populations. Culls carried out by the MNRF take place to protect heritage sites and sensitive areas (e.g., islands at Presqu’ile Provincial Park where other nesting species are also present). This case-by-case approach is much safer than lifting protection entirely. It allows us to be sure that intervention is justified before we take action.

Most importantly, let’s try to feel in our hearts what is being proposed and turn away from the usual trap of a “we say, they say” debate. Maybe we can take this as an opportunity for something different. Maybe we can make our choices from a place of decency and compassion. Do we really want to demonize and slaughter a native species at a time when the planet is experiencing unprecedented species loss? What lesson are we teaching our children? Don’t the lives of other sentient beings matter outside of measurable value to humans? How is it ethical to heap scorn on beautiful, exquisitely adapted birds like cormorants while at the same time loving and caring for our cats and dogs like in no other moment in history?

Please take time to go to the MNRF website at ero.ontario.ca/notice/013-4124 and voice your opposition to this slaughter. The deadline is January 3, 2019. Do so with the knowledge that in a few months time, there could be thousands of baby cormorants starving, baking in the sun, and shivering at night until death brings them relief. You can also go to change.org, search for “cormorants” and sign the online petition against the slaughter.

Yes, consider your heart, but don’t demonize hunters and anglers. Most are ethical practionners of these pastimes, and many have grave misgivings about what’s being proposed. And let’s not forget government biologists, either. More than anyone, they know this is a terrible idea but can’t speak out if they want to keep their jobs. This insanity must be especially difficult for them.

Local Climate Change News  

Camp Kawartha has undertaken a $3.5 million capital campaign to support its vision of becoming a national leader in environmental programming. The Camp plans to build a new dining hall, kitchen and sleeping quarters, all demonstrating the latest in green architecture. This certified “living building” would be the second of its kind in all of Canada. From living walls and a living roof, to geothermal heating and the use of all-natural materials, the building would show how people and nature can live together and be healthy for both. The building will be “net zero”, which means zero toxins, zero waste and zero carbon and therefore be a showpiece for sustainability. Please consider donating to the campaign at campkawartha.ca.

At the Camp Kawartha’s Annual General Meeting this week, Chris Magwood delivered a wonderful talk on “How Buildings Can (help) Save the World”. Chris is Executive Director of The Endeavour Centre, a not-for-profit sustainable building school based in Peterborough. He pointed out that buildings are responsible for 25% or more of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Surprisingly, from a GHG perspective, a building’s energy efficiency is not the main issue. Rather, we need to look at “embodied emissions”, which are the GHGs associated with producing the building materials. They represent 60% of a building’s carbon footprint, which is much more than the operational emissions from heating and cooling the building. Magwood emphasized that reducing embodied emissions should be the building industry’s main focus in fighting climate change. Buildings made from materials such as straw, hemp, bamboo and fibreboard are actually net storers of carbon, emit zero toxins and can be affordably built right now. Go to endeavourcentre.org for more information.