Carden Alvar Nature Board by Bob BowlesRe(1): Should we disclose the location of breeding endangered species?

We feel that for many endangered birds it is more important to promote their presence than to suppress it. The Carden Alvar is a perfect example of where hundreds of people have seen their first Loggerhead Shrike. The promotion of the Loggerhead Shrike on the Carden Alvar helped make both the shrike and Carden household names recognizable by many people. As a result, the Loggerhead Shrike is getting more funding than most endangered species and there is more public and political awareness. The endangered Loggerhead Shrike became the featured bird species in the Nature Conservancy of Canada's successful campaign to raise the money needed to acquire the Cameron and Windmill ranches.

There was little or no disturbance to the Henslow's Sparrow along Wylie Road. There are sensitive locations, but when a bird is clearly on private property and can be viewed from a public road then there is no need to keep it a secret. Having over a hundred people see and hear the Henslow's once again focused attention on why the Carden Alvar is globally important. Ten years ago, a Henslow's Sparrow was found singing in a farmer's field in Prince Edward County near Picton. Many people saw this bird and when we heard that the farmer was ready to cut the hay there was a reaction. The Ontario Field Ornithologists, represented by OFO member Terry Sprague, paid the farmer the value of the hay not to cut it until late summer. Naturalists and the public need to be better informed. We need to reach deeper into our pockets to save endangered species and their habitats. Indications are that both the federal and Ontario governments, despite having passed better wildlife laws, will be granting even less future funding to the protection of endangered species. Only a better informed and knowledgeable public can counteract this lack of "political will" to save endangered species. We need more broad-based public support to save endangered species not secrecy. Not much is being done to save Henslow's Sparrows in Ontario - the Recovery Team has little/no funding. The Henslow's Sparrow needs a big jolt of publicity or the glamour birds such as the Peregrine Falcon and Bald Eagle will continue to get much of the extremely limited government funding for endangered species.

Alex, as you know birders are not the cause of the Henslow's or any other species becoming endangered. Let's focus on promoting endangered species rather than implying that birders and naturalists are the problem.

Jean Iron and Ron Pittaway
Ontario Field Ornithologists


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