Letters to the Editor

Venue preparation threatens bird species

I am writing concerning the May 12 editorial in the Castlegar News (‘Keep the torch of co-operation going’) about the  BC Seniors Games.

There are some inhabitants of these “river valleys and mountainsides” whose needs have not been considered in the co-operative process, and whose very survival is essential to honouring those needs.

I’m referring to the birds whose homes and nesting cavities have been destroyed at Pass Creek Park to accommodate horseshoe pits for the games.

The W.K. Naturalists were recently contacted by a local research biologist to solicit help in opposing tree cutting in the park during nesting season. I and a number of other naturalists called the offices of local authorities to register our opposition and to inform the authorities of the necessity of preserving trees during this time.

A few days before major cutting was to proceed we were told that the Regional District had been apprised of the birds’ needs and that the cutting operation was consequently discontinued.

But the operation did go ahead as proposed, and approximately 50 prime cottonwood and cherry trees have been downed on the west side of Pass Creek Park.

This park holds one of the two remaining stands of riparian cottonwood in the area which furnishes nesting and foraging grounds for bird species including the Nashville warbler, Hammond’s flycatcher, spotted towhee and the pileated woodpecker.

It is included in and considered critical to the winter and summer Audubon bird count, a major repository for bird count studies worldwide.

I suspect that many seniors participating in the games and many citizens would be disturbed knowing that horseshoe pits were accomplished at the expense of quite a number of solid and beautiful trees which for decades supplied homes and nesting cover for a now even more precarious population of wild birds.

Pamella Wik


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