Cormorants under siege from jackhammers

This year, the odds of breeding successfully have been diminished significantly for the pelagic cormorants that are attempting to nest under the Burrard Street Bridge [“Cornwall Avenue near Burrard Bridge to close for part of weekend”, web-only].

I was appalled to hear the constant banging of a jackhammer on the bridge right next to the breeding colony. The project manager responsible for the bridge work said the jackhammering wasn’t a problem and would continue. As someone who has studied breeding sea birds for over 10 years, including four years researching human-caused disturbances, I beg to differ. The breeding success of this important colony is being negatively affected by the jackhammering; some birds will abandon their breeding attempt and some will delay breeding, lessening the odds of being successful at fledging young.

Conducting work on the bridge at this time of year is jeopardizing the breeding success of this colony. I have counted over 80 nests at this colony in previous years, making the success of the Burrard Street colony incredibly important to the health of B.C.’s declining pelagic cormorant population. If Vancouver wants to become a green city, it needs to make protection of its wildlife a priority over infrastructure projects and schedule these projects accordingly.

> Hugh Knechtel / Burnaby