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The Birds

The coast and offshore areas of British Columbia are home to vast numbers and species of sea birds. The Scott Islands, a cluster of rugged, isolated islands off the north end of Vancouver Island, area bird watcher’s paradise. These islands contain some of B.C.’s most important bird colonies, including that of the Cassin’s Auklet, which is listed as a threatened species.

Millions of birds live, breed and migrate through the coastal area known as the Queen Charlotte Basin. Birds, such as the great blue heron, bald eagle, kingfisher, albatross, swan, duck and loon are found on this coast and would be threatened by the offshore oil and gas industry because of possible oil spills and unavoidable low-level pollution.

Birds of this coast feed at all levels of the marine food web on vegetation, crustaceans, invertebrates and fish. They are vulnerable to any negative impact or decrease in their food supply.

Oil spills can kill adult birds, damage nesting colonies and destroy sources of food. It is estimated that over 300,000 birds died from exposure to oil spilled during the Exxon Valdez oil spill. There is no doubt that the risks to bird life would be significant if offshore oil and gas development is allowed to proceed.

For more information on the impacts of offshore oil and gas on birds click here.

Photo credit: Donald E. Waite

The Scott Islands are home to some of the most important bird colonies in B.C., including the Cassin's Auklet, which is currently listed as "threatened". An oil spill could kill adult birds, damage nesting colonies, and disrupt their food source. It only takes a drop of oil the size of a quarter to kill a bird.