Scientist scolds 'wasteful' hunters after seabirds dumped in C.B.S.

Memorial University's Bill Montevecchi says a regular beach walker made a gruesome discovery Saturday near Upper Gullies - more than 50 dead turrs, seabirds also know as Murres, discarded like trash.
One of the piles of dead seabirds that were dumped on a beach near Upper Gullies, Conception Bay South. (Bill Montevecchi)

A bird scientist is speaking out after the carcasses of dozens of seabirds were found dumped on a Conception Bay South beach.

Memorial University's Bill Montevecchi says he received a phone call Saturday to come to an area near Upper Gullies where a regular beach walker made a gruesome discovery.

He found more than 50 dead turrs, seabirds also know as murres, discarded like trash.

"This isn't hunting," said Montevecchi  "This is just a crime against nature."

This is just a crime against nature.- Bill Montevecchi, bird biologist

Newfoundlander and Labradorians are the only people in North America, aside from Indigenous people, allowed to hunt seabirds.

Professor Bill Montevecchi laying out some of the birds he collected near Upper gullies on a wharf in Portugal Cove. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

Montevecchi, a professor of psychology, biology and ocean sciences at Memorial University of Newfoundland, says slaughtering the birds and then throwing them away is an abuse of that privilege.

"I mean whoever this was, he might as well have been shooting beer bottles. I mean this was target practice. Those birds weren't used."

Cleaning out the freezer

It's hard to know exactly what happened, but Montevecchi has a theory. He believes a hunter shot these birds last year, kept them in a freezer and threw them out when he killed a new batch of birds this winter.

"[This hunter] wanted to fill his freezer with the new ones. So maybe if we go back to the beach next year in 2017, maybe we'll get the ones he didn't use this year."

Dozens of Turr - also know as Murres - were found discarded near Upper Gullies on a Conception Bay South beach. (Bill Montevecchi)

Montevecchi is calling on authorities to do more to prevent senseless acts like this.

"What we need is more enforcement to take care of these issues and that's what we don't have," he said.

"When you don't have people out there on the water, when you don't have enough of them out there, cheating happens and that's what we are seeing.

Montevecchi doesn't believe the hunt for seabirds should be stopped. In fact he said he's enjoyed eating a few turrs himself, but he's calling on hunters to not discard what they kill, like trash.