BIRDS: Can the beautiful Harlequin Duck stall development in the Bay of Fundy?


English: Harlequin Duck Histrionicus histrioni...

English: Harlequin Duck Histrionicus histrionicus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Harlequin Duck Histrionicus histrionicus

On April 22, 2008, Joyce Morrell of Campobello sent around a photo of a single drake at Head Harbour Light House. This reminded me of a very short story about one of the most beautiful of the Bay of Fundy marine birds.

I was once involved with an aquaculture application for White Head Island off Grand Manan in the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. There, slap dab in the middle of the proposed site, was a small and very relaxed flock of these beautiful birds. Roosting on a nearby ledge, their daily flights took them directly across an embayment where the cages would be moored. Interestingly, the birds won because they were , at that time, listed as endangered in both Canada and the United States. Times have certainly changed. Today, the truly endangered north Atlantic right whale doesn’t seemed to have stalled the steamroller of development from LNG, refineries, quarries, and other coastal developments.

Perhaps the little harlequin duck can do the trick? Located off Point Lepreau, the Wolves, White Head Island, Campobello, East Quoddy Head and elsewhere along the proposed route of LNG and aggregate ships entering Passamaquoddy Bay, they are certainly a species that must be considered. But, unfortunately there seems to be little to stop coastal development and the truly frightening prospects we face.

The Harlequin Duck, Eastern population, is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA) and the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act. Under SARA, it is prohibited to kill, harm, or collect adults, young, and eggs. Harlequin Ducks are also protected in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador under their respective Endangered Species Acts.

Get more information at: http://www.sararegistry.gc.ca/species/speciesDetails_e.cfm?sid=22

Revised from an article published 2008 – Art MacKay

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