Bluesfest awaiting OK to move 'bluesnest'

Ottawa Bluesfest organizers are waiting for the go-ahead to move a bird's nest that has caused a real flap during the festival's setup.

Protected killdeer nesting where Bluesfest main stage construction set to start Tuesday

Killdeer watch over their nest on the Ottawa Bluesfest grounds on Monday, with just 10 days to go before the musical festival is set to open. (Marc-André Cossette/CBC)

Ottawa Bluesfest organizers are waiting for the go-ahead to move a bird's nest that has caused a real flap during the festival's setup.

A killdeer is nesting where the music festival's main stage is set to be built starting Tuesday.

"We are looking at all the options," Bluesfest executive director Mark Monahan told reporters Monday.

"I have to say this is one of the most challenging problems that we've been presented with recently, but we feel we can work through this."

Festival workers first spotted the bird and its four eggs last Friday during their initial setup work.

Crews have since blocked off the area surrounding the nest with caution tape, while the National Capital Commission, which owns the festival grounds, has hired a security guard to watch over the nest around the clock.

The National Capital Commission has hired security guards to watch over the killdeer and its nest 24 hours a day. (Marc-André Cossette/CBC)

But with the festival just 10 days away, organizers are running out of time.

Environment Canada approval needed

The festival is hoping to receive Environment Canada's approval to move the nest, Monahan said, either to a nearby location on the festival grounds or to a wildlife centre where the eggs could be incubated.

It would likely be preferable to move the eggs to a wildlife centre, Monahan said, given the huge crowds expected to descend on LeBreton Flats once the 10-day festival kicks off on July 5.

The festival boasts an average annual attendance of more than 300,000 music fans each year, according to the its website.

Mark Monahan, right, executive director of Ottawa Bluesfest, said the festival will start as planned on July 5, although the move-in schedule may need to be adjusted. (Marc-André Cossette/CBC)

Relocating the festival's main stage is "not realistic," according to Monahan, who said he hopes to find a workable solution with Environment Canada.

"The festival will go on," he said. "We have no indication right now that this bird will disrupt the actual event taking place."

While changes to the move-in schedule may be needed, Monahan said, the festival will begin as scheduled on July 5.

Birds protected by law

But Carleton University naturalist Michael Runtz said if the eggs are moved more than a metre the parents will likely abandon them.

Killdeer are relatively plentiful in Canada and are found in both rural and urban areas, Runtz said.

The birds and their nests are protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act.

Bluesfest organizers look for OK to move nest

6 years ago
Duration 0:53
Mark Monahan, the festival's executive director says Bluesfest is awaiting Environment Canada's approval.

Killdeer eggs typically take between 24 and 26 days to hatch, and Monahan said he had no indication as to when the eggs on the festival grounds are expected to hatch.

The killdeer population has seen at least a 50 per cent decline since 1970.