Migratory birds are federally protected by the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and its regulations. It is illegal to kill, disturb or destroy migratory birds, their nest or eggs, except under authority of a permit. Permits for addressing agricultural damage or danger to livestock can be obtained from the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) of Environment Canada electronically at www.ec.gc.ca/nature/default.asp?lang=En&n=677AEBD4-1, or via the permits office at 905-336-4464 or email@example.com. There is no fee for damage or danger permits. Additionally, local legislation may prohibit the use of firearms or excessive noise and light as deterrents.
Prevention is always the most effective method and most deterrent techniques work best when part of a comprehensive plan. Enhancing biosecurity on the farm is the best method to reduce the risk of pathogen transfer from wild birds.
- Remove potential food sources for wild birds in the area (i.e. grass, grains, seeds, berries and vegetables), properly store feed, and promptly clean up any spilled feed.
- Remove any bodies of water or establish discouraging barriers.
- Mow less frequently, either the entire lawn or only the grass bordering bodies of water.
- Discourage migratory birds from using areas where they may come into contact with the commercial flock. Scaring should begin when migratory birds first arrive in an area involves deterring geese every time they arrive and must be carried out consistently until they leave the area.
- Many scaring techniques can be used to prevent damage and risks caused by migratory birds do not require a federal permit from Environment Canada. These include propane cannons, air horns, strobe lights, lasers, balloons/kites, and scarecrows.
- Scaring techniques using aircraft or firearms do require permit.
- In agricultural settings, “kill to support scaring” can be a very effective scare technique, which involves using a shotgun to kill a few birds from a flock to discourage others from returning to the area. It is possible to obtain a kill permit from Environment Canada if all reasonable management techniques have been attempted and failed.
For more information regarding management techniques for migratory birds, please contact the Canadian Wildlife Service at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (905) 336-4464.
If you come across a single large bird or at least three smaller birds that are sick or dead, notify the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (www.cwhc-rcsf.ca/ ) at 1-866-673-4781.