The Walnut Beach Resort is under investigation by Environment and Climate Change Canada for the alleged destruction of 150 cliff swallow nests in July. Cliff swallows are a protected species under the Migratory Bird Convention Act and are in decline. (Photo from Pixabay)

Alleged destruction of protected bird nests in the South Okanagan investigated

Cliff swallows are a protected species under the Migratory Bird Convention Act and are in decline

An investigation is under way at the Walnut Beach Resort in Osoyoos following the alleged destruction of 150 cliff swallow nests last month.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has an open file looking into the matter, after the incident was reported by a guest at the resort in July. Cliff swallows are a protected species under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, which states that it is unlawful to kill a migratory bird without a permit or to destroy a migratory bird nest.

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“Cliff swallows have shown widespread declines across Canada for unclear reasons – destroying their nests would certainly have impacts on local populations,” said Erin Ryan, specialist in research communications with the BC SPCA science and policy division. “The destruction of 150 nests is quite significant. People should be looking for opportunities to help increase, rather than damage, their nesting success.”

Ryan said cliff swallows begin nesting in mid-May to early June and end in mid-August, depending on the region. These nests are built by stacking mud or clay and can be re-used by the bird the next season.

While ECCC could not comment on the ongoing investigation, if found guilty of an alleged contravention of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, the resort could face enforcement measures including a written warning, compliance orders, administrative penalties or charges leading to prosecution.

Staff with the resort did not return requests for comments on the investigation.

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Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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