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Canadian Projects

Canadian Blog

by Barry Kent MacKay,
Senior Program Associate

Born Free USA's Canadian Representative


Barry is an artist, both with words and with paint. He has been associated with our organization for nearly three decades and is our go-to guy for any wildlife question. He knows his animals — especially birds — and the issues that affect them. His blogs will give you just the tip of his wildlife-knowledge iceberg, so be sure to stay and delve deeper into his Canadian Project articles. If you like wildlife and reading, Barry's your man. (And we're happy to have him as part of our team, too!)

Toronto Conservation Authority Shows Insight, Leadership, Intelligence

Cormorants in Toronto

Published 03/21/12

Unaccustomed though I am to publicly praising any government agency’s wildlife management policies, most of which so often seem predicated on the theory that only the views of people who hate or fear wildlife count, there are exceptions. The Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is one.

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Cheap Gas, Poisoned Wolves, Shot Bears, Deformed Fish, and Us

Alberta Oil Sands Keep on Killing So We Can Afford to Keep on Filling

Published 03/07/12

If you live in North America and use gasoline, oil or natural gas — or even if you don’t (and that would be exceptional) — you are indirectly complicit in the deaths of a great many innocent animals, including some who have a horribly tortured death. We are all guilty, if not equally, or directly.

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Canadian Senate Proves Conservatives Are a Tad Dumb

Seal Expert Asked Dumb and Dumber Questions on Valentine’s Day

Published 02/21/12

Dumb and dumber describes a large portion of questions Dr. David Lavigne was asked Feb. 14, which was disconcerting to me, a loyal Canadian, because the questions were asked by members of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.

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NBD Special (Part IX): We Can Save Millions of Wild Birds, and Here’s How

I Am Proud of What May Be the World’s Very First Bird-Friendly Building; May It Lead the Way

Published 01/24/12

(Editor’s note: This is the ninth in a two-month series of blogs written by Barry from Canada and, from her perch at our Sacramento headquarters in Northern California, Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson. Their “blog-off” is part of Born Free USA’s celebration of National Bird Day, which every year falls on Jan. 5.)

Barry writes:

At the end of January I will be attending a courtroom in Toronto where a company that manages tall buildings covered with reflective glass will be pitted against an environmental lawyer who is representing a provincial conservation organization. Having heard various witnesses last year, the judge will now listen to summary arguments. One side will explain why those who manage a tall building that kills hundreds of migratory songbirds each day should not be found legally complicit. The other side will explain why, for the first time in Canadian law, those who manage a building should be held responsible for the deaths of the birds.

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NBD Special (Part VIII): The Plight of Scarlet Macaws

Published 01/17/12

(Editor’s note: This is the eighth in a two-month series of blogs written by Barry from Canada and, from her perch at our Sacramento headquarters in Northern California, Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson. Their “blog-off” is part of Born Free USA’s celebration of National Bird Day, which every year falls on Jan. 5.)

Monica writes:

A scarlet macaw

Many U.S. citizens seem to think that the problem of capturing and trading wild parrots for the pet trade was solved with the passage of the U.S. Wild Bird Conservation Act in 1992, which effectively reduced the United States from the largest importer of wild-caught birds to one of the smallest. The passage of the act was a major victory.

We won the battle but we have not yet won the war.

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NBD Special (Part VII): Rare Birds, Birders, Conservation and the Media

Puffin Saved, Puffins Dying, and the Black-Throated Gray Warbler

Published 01/10/12

(Editor’s note: This is the seventh in a two-month series of blogs written by Barry from Canada and, from her perch at our Sacramento headquarters in Northern California, Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson. Their “blog-off” is part of Born Free USA’s celebration of National Bird Day, which every year falls on Jan. 5.)

Barry writes:

There was, on the news, the heart-warming, feel-good story — just in time for Christmas — about the Atlantic puffin found on a downtown street in Montreal, unable to fly. Puffins are seabirds who, to fly, must launch themselves from cliffs, or take off from the water. This bird had wandered far inland, and would have died but for human intervention. The bird was flown to Newfoundland and turned over to an experienced wildlife rehabilitator, or rehabber, now working to make the bird healthy enough to be released into its natural environment.

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NBD Special (Part VI): Help Global Bird Populations Through Diet

Published 01/03/12

(Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a two-month series of blogs written by Barry from Canada and, from her perch at our Sacramento headquarters in Northern California, Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson. Their “blog-off” is part of Born Free USA’s celebration of National Bird Day, which every year falls on Jan. 5.)

Monica writes:

It is well recognized that habitat loss is the single greatest overall threat to birds, outweighing the impacts of building collisions, domestic cat predation and human recreational hunting. Yet conservationists often overlook or ignore the role a particular human habit plays in driving habitat destruction.

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NBD Special (Part V): ‘The Big Year’

Published 12/27/11

(Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a two-month series of blogs written by Barry from Canada and, from her perch at our Sacramento headquarters in Northern California, Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson. Their “blog-off” is part of Born Free USA’s celebration of National Bird Day, which every year falls on Jan. 5.)

Barry writes:

This is not meant to be a movie review, but rather an unabashed endorsement for a film that I thoroughly enjoyed, that just happens to also be about something I have done all my life, albeit not quite the way portrayed in the movie.

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