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!)
How Questionable Wildlife Management Devours Tax Dollars
In Canada, we have a federal government infamously downloading or cutting off a myriad of valid environmental research programs—inconvenient facts being an impediment to what’s really important to the right-wing ideologues now in power—while ignoring one area of waste that is quite disposable, but oh, ever so convenient if you don’t mind a total, absurdly wasteful sham.
Ignorance Trumps Facts in the Interest of Votes
Neither Kathleen Wynne (the Premier of Ontario), nor David Orazietti (the province’s Minister of Natural Resources), nor Bill Mauro (Member of Provincial Parliament for Thunder Bay-Atikokan in northern Ontario), nor the staff of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH), nor anyone else salivating at the thought of returning to a spring bear hunt, has heard of a document with the pedantic title: “Correlation of Reduction in Nuisance Black Bear Complaints with Implementation of (a) a non-violent program and (b) a hunt, Final Report” by Edward A. Tavss, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rutgers University. Either that, or these people are horrifically two-faced opportunists who lack compassion for bears and people.
Parrots as They are Meant to Be
In celebration of National Bird Day 2014, Barry Kent MacKay, Senior Program Associate for Born Free USA and lifelong bird enthusiast, is writing a special six-part blog series in December and January where he will describe some of his favorite avian species. Below is the sixth (and final) installment.
It was the late 1960s, and I was a young adult, recovering from a debilitating illness and trying to prove myself as a field naturalist. I was on my first ever expedition to the tropics.
This Too Shall Pass (Or Will It?): What Animal Advocates Should Know!
One of my favorite lines from the Bible does not, according to those who actually read the Bible, occur in it. The line is “This too shall pass,” and, Biblical or not, I have often thought about it, and the concept has given me strength. But three recent events (and many others like them) challenge the notion.
The Timneh Parrot
In celebration of National Bird Day 2014, Barry Kent MacKay, Senior Program Associate for Born Free USA and lifelong bird enthusiast, is writing a special six-part blog series in December and January where he will describe some of his favorite avian species. Below is the fifth installment.
Ironic. A couple of weeks ago – mid-December – I had decided to do a National Bird Day blog about the Timneh Parrot. You won’t see the blog I nearly completed because, as I was finishing it, I took a brief break to check my e-mails—and in one, there was a link to an online article by Scott Malone entitled “U.S. parrot rescuers struggle to keep up with unwanted birds.” As anyone who has seen the wonderful new film, Parrot Confidential, is well aware, most parrots are extremely ill-suited to be “pets” or “companion animals,” and a huge number are doomed to lifelong imprisonment under cruel conditions. Sanctuaries, as the title of Malone’s article said, can’t keep up with the demand for suitable homes for these birds—especially the largest and noisiest of them, who become unwanted once the novelty of owning them wears out.
Why You Really Do NOT Want to Have this Group of Parrots for "Pets"
In celebration of National Bird Day 2014, Barry Kent MacKay, Senior Program Associate for Born Free USA and lifelong bird enthusiast, is writing a special six-part blog series in December and January where he will describe some of his favorite avian species. Below is the fourth installment.
Scientists are a bit at odds: do the 21 species of birds collectively known as “cockatoos” belong in their own family, or are they members of the same family as other parrots?
Answer: it doesn’t matter to anyone but those scientists. To the rest of us, they’re all parrots.
In celebration of National Bird Day 2014, Barry Kent MacKay, Senior Program Associate for Born Free USA and lifelong bird enthusiast, is writing a special six-part blog series in December and January where he will describe some of his favorite avian species. Below is the third installment.
There are at least 429 species of birds in the family Tyrannidae, the so-called Tyrant-Flycatchers. All of them are restricted to the Western Hemisphere, ranging from northern Alaska to the tip of Tierra del Fuego, and including the West Indies, the Galapagos Islands (where two species breed), and the Falkland Islands (where one species breeds). There are probably quite a few “hidden” species – now considered subspecies of known species, but who should probably be considered full species, as defined by biologists. The term “tyrant” derives from the fact that many, including the Eastern and Western Kingbirds so familiar to us across nearly all of temperate North America, will boldly chase much larger birds, such as hawks and crows, from their nesting territories.
As Bears Give Birth, Guess What's Waiting for Them...
Okay, I admit it; I was fooled. When the Premier of Ontario and leader of the Liberal Party, Dalton McGuinty, suddenly quit office in 2012 amid various spending scandals, he was replaced by Kathleen Wynne. Because Wynne was a bit of an outsider – Ontario’s first female and openly gay premier – I hoped that transparency and citizen democracy would benefit, and policy would derive from logic and compassion.