The bird’s nest vs. Ottawa Bluesfest: We have a solution (and a happy ending)!

When workers descended on the field to set up stages for Ottawa’s annual Bluesfest earlier this week, they immediately found a problem. On a patch of cobblestone where the main stage is supposed to go, they found a mama killdeer and a nest of four eggs.

Kildeers aren’t endangered, but they are a protected species. No one was allowed to touch the nest or otherwise disturb the bird. Security tape was put up around the site and security guards were posted around the clock while organizers figured out what to do.

Would the eggs hatch in time? Normally, it takes 24 to 26 days for chicks to emerge, but those who know killdeers say it’s unusual for eggs to remain unhatched by mid-June. Yet here we are. And with an 11-day festival being set up all around the nest, the situation wasn’t ideal for the bird, either.

Leaving the nest in place would result in a rejigging of the concert site. The only other option was to seek permission from Environment and Climate Change Canada to relocate the nest to a suitable wild place.

Federal approval has been given. Someone with a federal license will come in and take the nest somewhere. If mom abandons the eggs–which could happen–the eggs will be taken to the Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary in Minden, Ontario, which is about 300 km away. Mom will just fly away and start again, although a new perch for her has been found about 50 metres from the stage. She should be fine.

The Foo Fighters are set to play the festival, which starts July 5. I wonder if Dave will have anything to say about this? At the very least he can dedicate “Learn to Fly” to the baby chicks.

The killdeer has its own Twitter account, of course.

UPDATE! The nest was successfully moved on Wednesday (June 27) and mom went along for the ride. It looks like we have a happy ending to this one. Construction on the main stage for Ottawa Bluesfest has begun.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.