News & Stories

BC green lights permit to remove rare Peregrine Falcon nest site at Abbotsford quarry

The Wild Bird Trust of BC is deeply disappointed in British Columbia’s decision to allow the removal of a rare Peregrine Falcon nest in Abbotsford.

In January 2021, the province of BC issued a permit to a gravel mining operator to remove a rare Peregrine Falcon nesting site at Sumas Mountain in Abbotsford.

The Wild Bird Trust of BC (WBT) is deeply disappointed by this decision. WBT campaigned virtually to raise awareness of the issue in December and is one of at least 10 organizations that sent a letter to BC’s FLNR Ministry, pressuring the province to reject the permit.

Mountainside Quarries received a general operations permit from the province in April of 2020, despite known opposition from Sumas First Nation, as expressed in a letter signed by the Chief in 2016. For safety reasons, the operator also required a general wildlife permit to remove the falcon nest, a permit type that is “only available in special circumstances.” The province has now granted that permit to destroy the Peregrine Falcon nest.

The nest at the Abbotsford quarry is an integral breeding site, as it is the only known active nest between Hope and Port Mann Bridge south of the Fraser River. Since at least 2015, the quarry nest has been successfully producing juvenile Peregrine Falcons each year. The American  Peregrine Falcon subspecies (F.p. anatum) is red-listed in BC and recognized as a species of special concern under the federal Species at Risk Act. 

BC protects Peregrine Falcon nests year-round, regardless of whether they are occupied, under Section 34 of the Wildlife Act. But the new permit grants the operator permission to override that legislation.

Mountainside Quarries has stated it will create new nest ledges at the site and add nest boxes for the falcons. They also agreed to help facilitate a study on a pair of breeding falcons from the site using satellite transmitters to track the pair.

The quarry cliff is also a site of seasonal migration for a bountiful colony of Cliff Swallows, a migratory bird species that has been experiencing population declines across BC and Canada over the past two decades. Cliff Swallows are federally protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act. The site is also home to the Phantom Orchid, a white flowering orchid species, which is also red-listed in BC.

Share :

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on telegram
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

Get The Maplewood Flats newsletter

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, The Maplewood Flats, with stories from our latest advocacies in conservation and reconciliation, birding talks and workshops, online and off-line events, habitat restoration research, and more.



More News & Stories

Purple Martin by John Lowman
Birding

Cross-border Purple Martin Conservation Network

Nest box programs at Maplewood Flats and Rocky Point (Port Moody) initiated in 1994 greatly contributed to the resurgence of Purple Martins in BC. Now, around 110 nest boxes are mounted every spring upon the return of the Purple Martins at Maplewood Flats. In 2019 it was estimated that there was nesting activity in around 86 nest boxes at the Maplewood Flats colony.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.