Letter: Off-leash area at Vernon park threatens birds

Writer says you can have free running dogs or ground nesting birds, not both

A Jan. 23 article in the Vernon Morning Star calls for an off-leash area for dogs at Marshall Field.

The creek area in Marshall Fields is a popular spot for our feathered friends. In a recent issue of the weekly newsletter of the North Okanagan Naturalists Club, it was reported that hikers had seen Horned Grebes, Red-necked Grebes, a great blue heron, American Kestrel, Mourning Doves, Black Billed Magpies, Northern Flickers, Song Sparrows, White-Crowned Sparrows and House Finches on a club hike through the Marshall Fields area to Vernon Creek.

The presence of these birds is threatened by increasing numbers of dogs. One can have free running dogs, or one can have ground nesting birds, but not both.

The willingness to sacrifice this area for the birds is indicative of wider problem within B.C., and in Canada as a whole, where increasing urbanization and resource extraction has seen a decrease in the number of several species of birds. The situation has not changed since many years ago the cartoon character Pogo investigating the loss of his habitat exclaimed, “I have found the problem and he is us!”

Vivian Merchant


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