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Canadian Projects

Canadian Blog

by Barry Kent MacKay,
Senior Program Associate

Born Free USA's Canadian Representative


Barry is an artist, both with words and with paint. He has been associated with our organization for nearly three decades and is our go-to guy for any wildlife question. He knows his animals — especially birds — and the issues that affect them. His blogs will give you just the tip of his wildlife-knowledge iceberg, so be sure to stay and delve deeper into his Canadian Project articles. If you like wildlife and reading, Barry's your man. (And we're happy to have him as part of our team, too!)

NBD Special (Part VII): Rare Birds, Birders, Conservation and the Media

Puffin Saved, Puffins Dying, and the Black-Throated Gray Warbler

Published 01/10/12

(Editor’s note: This is the seventh in a two-month series of blogs written by Barry from Canada and, from her perch at our Sacramento headquarters in Northern California, Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson. Their “blog-off” is part of Born Free USA’s celebration of National Bird Day, which every year falls on Jan. 5.)

Barry writes:

There was, on the news, the heart-warming, feel-good story — just in time for Christmas — about the Atlantic puffin found on a downtown street in Montreal, unable to fly. Puffins are seabirds who, to fly, must launch themselves from cliffs, or take off from the water. This bird had wandered far inland, and would have died but for human intervention. The bird was flown to Newfoundland and turned over to an experienced wildlife rehabilitator, or rehabber, now working to make the bird healthy enough to be released into its natural environment.

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NBD Special (Part VI): Help Global Bird Populations Through Diet

Published 01/03/12

(Editor’s note: This is the sixth in a two-month series of blogs written by Barry from Canada and, from her perch at our Sacramento headquarters in Northern California, Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson. Their “blog-off” is part of Born Free USA’s celebration of National Bird Day, which every year falls on Jan. 5.)

Monica writes:

It is well recognized that habitat loss is the single greatest overall threat to birds, outweighing the impacts of building collisions, domestic cat predation and human recreational hunting. Yet conservationists often overlook or ignore the role a particular human habit plays in driving habitat destruction.

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NBD Special (Part V): ‘The Big Year’

Published 12/27/11

(Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a two-month series of blogs written by Barry from Canada and, from her perch at our Sacramento headquarters in Northern California, Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson. Their “blog-off” is part of Born Free USA’s celebration of National Bird Day, which every year falls on Jan. 5.)

Barry writes:

This is not meant to be a movie review, but rather an unabashed endorsement for a film that I thoroughly enjoyed, that just happens to also be about something I have done all my life, albeit not quite the way portrayed in the movie.

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NBD Special (Part IV): Help Birds By Being a Squeaky Wheel

Published 12/20/11

(Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a two-month series of blogs written by Barry from Canada and, from her perch at our Sacramento headquarters in Northern California, Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson. Their “blog-off” is part of Born Free USA’s celebration of National Bird Day, which every year falls on Jan. 5.)

Monica writes:

Many people mistakenly believe that all animals sold in pet shops are protected by laws. But while the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) mandates that certain animal facilities comply with licensing, inspection and care requirements, retail pet stores (with the exception of those that sell "wild and exotic" animals) are not regulated under the act.

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NBD Special (Part III): Birding's Challenge

You Don't Have to be a Genius to be a Birder, But It Helps

Published 12/13/11

(Editor’s note: This is the third in a two-month series of blogs written by Barry from Canada and, from her perch at our Sacramento headquarters in Northern California, Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson. Their “blog-off” is part of Born Free USA’s celebration of National Bird Day, which every year falls on Jan. 5.)

Barry writes:

While I won’t embarrass him by naming him (he’s well-known in certain animal protection and environmental circles) I have a friend who, at about the age I am (we won’t go into details, but let’s just say we both qualify as boomers) has discovered the joys of birding.

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NBD Special (Part II): Captive Birds Need Protection Now!

Published 12/06/11

(Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-month series of blogs written by Barry from Canada and, from her perch at our Sacramento headquarters in Northern California, Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson. Their “blog-off” is part of Born Free USA’s celebration of National Bird Day, which every year falls on Jan. 5.)

Monica writes:

Most people are surprised to learn that captive exotic birds commonly sold in the pet trade or used for other entertainment purposes do not have specific protections under the Federal Animal Welfare Act, which mandates that certain animal facilities comply with licensing, inspection and care requirements.

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NBD Special: What, Exactly, Is This Thing Called Birding?

Millions Enjoy Animals Without Hurting Them?

Published 11/29/11

(Editor’s note: This is the first in a two-month series of blogs written by Barry from Canada and, from her perch at our Sacramento headquarters in Northern California, Senior Program Associate Monica Engebretson. Their “blog-off” is part of Born Free USA’s celebration of National Bird Day, which every year falls on Jan. 5.)

Barry writes:

It used to be called “bird watching,” which was misleading. Now it is called “birding,” a bit better, perhaps, but also not a term that conveys much. “It” is an activity (that part is certain) that may or may not be considered a sport or a hobby, may or may not be competitive, and is usually but not necessarily harmless. It can become, for some people, an obsession bordering on, and maybe crossing into, the realm of the absurd.

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Two Great Victories in Toronto for Animals — at Just One Council Meeting!

Published 10/26/11

Tuesday was a memorable date for me and for Born Free USA.

I had helped work on a proposal by Toronto City Hall Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker to ban the ownership, sale or consumption of shark in Toronto. Shark fin, considered to be an expensive delicacy used in traditional Chinese cuisine for special occasions, too often derives from the cruel practice called “finning” — cutting the fins off sharks and dumping the bodies, at times still alive, back into the ocean.

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