<<Little update for Monday March 9th
I may have underestimated the amount of energy SEPAQ is investing in this problem. Today I met with the SEPAQ Director in addition to the local park Director. They are taking this very seriously and are planning changes to better manage this problem and a variety of other situations encountered in the parks. One of these measures will facilitate communication between visitors and park authorities. We can all do our part to protect what is ours, these nature parks are our responsibility as well. Citizens can play an important role in being the eyes and ears of park authorities.>>
I’d also like to extend a big Thank You to QuebecOiseaux who has remained involved throughout this situation and facilitated contact with regional and park authorities.
<<Little update for Saturday March 7th
One unfortunate incident that I wasn’t aware of when I wrote this article has shocked me. Just one week ago a little girl age 7 or 8 was attacked by this Barred Owl. The incident took place early evening during a torch lit hiking activity in the Îles-de-Boucherville National Park. As the group was headed west on the Horned Owl trail the Barred Owl made a pass at the little girl. She ended up with several scratches on her face. She’s very fortunate as I’ve seen adults suffer much more serious wounds, including the loss of an eye from a Barred Owl attack. This could have also turned bad for the Owl who could have been injured by an adult trying to protect the child. I can’t help but believe that this incident may not have occurred if the owl was not baited in such an extreme way. BY EXTREME I mean almost every day. I truly believe that the baiting is what made the Owl comfortable enough to hunt near humans, thus contributing to this incident. Baiting in a National Park, especially an urban nature park were young children are present is deplorable.>>
I’d like to extend a big THANK YOU to all the Quebec Provincial authorities, the SEPAQ and Regroupement QuébecOiseaux for taking time out of their busy schedule to personally come and see for themselves the problematic onsite at the Îles-de-Boucherville National Park
*** ORIGINAL ARTICLE ***
Since last November the Îles-de-Boucherville National Park has been home to at least one Barred Owl. Some claim as many as three, but I’ve only seen two at one time. Yesterday I was in the Montreal Area of Quebec, Canada, so I decided to stop by and take a look.
Îles-de-Boucherville National Park Barred OwlThere were rumors that an Anglo Photographer from Montreal had been coaching this owl on an almost daily basis. Yesterday I had the unfortunate chance to see this photographer in action. What truly amazed me is that upon his arrival, the Owl immediately flew to him. It first landed 20 feet from him and made its way within 5 feet of the photographer.
Îles-de-Boucherville National Park Barred OwlAs the photographer walked away the Owl followed like a puppy. I quickly realized the Owl had associated food with humans, especially this one photographer. I followed for a while and stuck around for almost an hour. The photographer parked himself at a picnic table and waited me out. I eventually left but kept a far eye on him. Sure enough, the instant he thought I was out of sight he was baiting the Owl.
I know this photographer’s intentions aren’t to harm the Owl. The unfortunate truth is once a wild animal has associated humans with food, it will seek further contact in hopes of a hand out. Statistics show that sooner or later things turn bad for wild animals who seek contact with humans. Most of the wild animals in wildlife rescue centers made their way their due to an encounter with humans.
Îles-de-Boucherville National Park Barred OwlIn the past the park visitors were harassed by an overzealous and verbally abusive individual who patrolled the park. From one extreme to the other, there are no longer any patrols in place except for trail maintenance that you can hear a mile away. Maybe Denis Henri may be able to do something. It is unfortunately late in the season and the damage has already been done.