A pair of young Abbotsford birdwatchers don’t want the rare peregrine falcon to leave local skies.
Seth and Asher Baartman recently wrote a letter to Mountainside Quarries and the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) stating that they are worried they will never get to see one if the quarry resumes its operation and removes the bird’s nest.
Eight-year-old Seth and five-year-old Asher were made aware of the plight involving the bird’s nest through coverage in The Abbotsford News. The boys believe the nest should not be moved and would like to see it remain where it has been located for many years.
They read the recent story stating that the company has received approval to remove the nest from its quarry. On-site nest ledges and nest boxes will now be constructed and they will be monitored for five years. Satellite transmitters will also be placed on the falcons and they will be studied for four years.
The birds are on the province’s “red list” for threatened or endangered species, and the provincial Wildlife Act specifically protects the nests of peregrine falcons, along with five other prominent birds. Biologists believe only a couple dozen of the birds live in the Lower Mainland. Local environmental scientists that The News spoke to said once birds are moved off their familiar site, it’s unlikely they will return.
It is believed to be the only remaining nesting pair of the birds located south of the Fraser River.
The boys, who attend John Calvin Christian School in Yarrow, first got interested in birds a few years ago after their grandfather pointed out a red-tailed hawk to them. They also became fascinated with bald eagles after several sightings. There are two bald eagle nests down a road in their neighbourhood, and they have seen as many as eight eagles once in a nearby tree on Boundary Road near the Sumas border.
Seth said he recently got a set of new binoculars and hopes to see a peregrine falcon. Their mother Jill Baartman said Seth knows all sorts of facts about birds of prey and has become somewhat of a bird expert in their house.
The boys’ letter reads:
“We watch a lot of eagles in Abbotsford. We hope to see a peregrine falcon. They are amazing birds that can fly up to 390 km/h. Please do not move this special falcon next on Sumas Mountain. They are threatened species in BC. Thanks for saying you will build a new ledge for them. But people who study raptors do not think they will come back. So we will probably never see one if you start mining by the nest.”
The pair then went on to suggest a new idea for the quarry and the provincial government:
“You could build a wire fence to stop falling rocks instead on this 30 yard stretch. Please send a letter back.”
A fundraiser to appeal the decision has been launched by a group of local homeowners and conservationists. It has raised $2,550 thus far. The fundraiser can be found at gofundme.com/f/Save-the-Endangered-Peregrine-Falcon.