Bluesfest gets permission to move bird nest and start setting up festival

Environment Canada has approved moving the killdeer eggs that are blocking Bluesfest set up.

Environment Canada has given RBC Ottawa Bluefest permission to move a bird’s nest that was stopping the start of the main stage set-up for the annual festival at LeBreton Flats.

The department issued a permit to move the four eggs laid by a killdeer. The department announced its decision on Tuesday afternoon.

The bird is not endangered, although the species is declining in numbers, the department said in a statement adding that the relocation would allow the eggs to hatch in the natural environment. If the mother bird abandons the eggs, they will be taken to a rehabilitation facility which would provide the best probability for survival of the baby birds.

The festival says it will use a professional to move the nest to a previously determined location some 50 metres away. This will open the site to the set-up of the main stage at the west end of the lawn in front of the Canadian War Museum.

The discovery of the bird’s nest on Friday put a halt to the load-in of festival which is one of the largest in North America. It also attracted worldwide attention.

Setting up Bluesfest is almost like a military invasion. Everything is planned to the minute to ensure the festival is ready on time. Any delay causes a ripple effect throughout the entire process and that is most unwelcome.

Bluesfest executive director Mark Monahan said on Monday that moving the main stage to preserve the nest in its original location was not realistic, he said.

“It’s not just the main stage. We build a huge loading dock for instance behind the stage. On a given day we could have eight to 10 smis coming in here to unload. The activity level is tremendous.”

He called the discovery of the nest one of the “most challenging problems we have faced recently.”

In the end though, a compromise was reached and the festival will go ahead as planned.

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.