Dismal post construction monitoring report for Wolfe Island

Source: Transalta        Download full report

Correcting seasonally for searcher efficiency, scavenger and other removal rates, and the percent area searched, the 12 raptor/vulture and 88 other bird carcasses recovered represent approximately 602 bird fatalities over the course of this [six month] Reporting Period.

This is from the post construction monitoring report by TransAlta which owns and operates the Wolfe Island industrial wind facility through its wholly owned subsidiary Canadian Hydro Developers.


Executive Summary May 2010

(FATALITIES) Seven of the species have been identified as species of conservation priority by Ontario Partners in Flight (2006):

  • American Kestrel (one on each of July 1 and August 31),
  • Northern Flicker (one on October 8),
  • Black-billed Cuckoo (one on July 14),
  • Eastern Kingbird (one on each of July 28 and August 17),
  • Bank Swallow (one on August 17),
  • Savannah Sparrow (one on September 10),
  • and Bobolink (eight fatalities between July 27 and September 10).  In late summer and fall, young Bobolinks have left the nest and have joined mobile flocks of fledglings and adults that move about the breeding habitat.
  • Over the Reporting Period, a total of 28 Tree Swallow fatalities were recorded at 22 different WTGs. Sixteen of 28 (57%) Tree Swallow fatalities were juvenile birds. Together with Bank Swallow (one fatality), Barn Swallow (two fatalities), and Purple Martin (seven fatalities), swallows and martins represented 38 (38%) of the 100 recorded bird fatalities during the course of the Reporting Period.

Two WTGs were each responsible for three swallow/martin fatalities, and five turbines were each responsible for two swallow/martin fatalities. There was no apparent clustering of swallow/martin fatalities.

Twelve raptor and vulture fatalities were recorded over the course of this Reporting Period:

  • six Turkey Vultures,
  • three Red-tailed Hawks,
  • two American Kestrels, and
  • one Merlin.

Correcting seasonally for searcher efficiency, scavenger and other removal rates, and the percent area searched, the 12 raptor/vulture and 88 other bird carcasses recovered represent approximately 602 bird fatalities over the course of this Reporting Period.

The estimated total bird mortality for the Reporting Period is 6.99 birds/turbine (3.04 birds/MW). The mortality rate for the six-month Reporting Period at the EcoPower® Centre, at 3.04 birds per MW, is consistent with the results in nearby New York and other studies summarized by Arnett et al. (2007).

The Reporting Period (July-December) covered slightly different seasons than other studies (e.g., in New York, late April to mid-October or November). Direct comparison of mortality at the EcoPower® Centre and the other wind power facilities will be possible following a full year of field studies in 2010.

The 12 raptor/vulture carcasses recovered, when corrected for scavenger removal, represent approximately 13 raptor/vulture fatalities, over the course of this Reporting Period. The resultant total raptor/vulture mortality for the Reporting Period is 0.15 raptors and vultures/turbine (0.07 raptors and vultures/MW). The raptor mortality rate, excluding vultures, of 0.04 raptors per MW is at the mid-point of the range observed at other facilities in North America (0 – 0.09 raptors per MW; Arnett et al., 2007) and is consistent with rates observed elsewhere in Ontario (Stantec, unpublished data).

It is well below the threshold for notification identified in the Follow-up Plan of 0.09 raptors per MW, which is the highest rate of raptor mortality recorded in North American, outside California, at the Stateline, Oregon facility (Arnett et al., 2007).

11 thoughts on “Dismal post construction monitoring report for Wolfe Island

  1. A dirty rotten shame. So because it is below threshold for notification does that mean MORE turbines will go up on that pitiful Island?

  2. Should bag up every single carcass and throw them into Gerettson’s driveway at his home across the bay!

    Criminal Government Agencies who are supposed to protect wildlife are MURDERING it!

  3. I’ve worked through their numbers, and from what I can read they are ABOVE the vulture/raptor rate that is allowed. 13 birds over 26 weeks equals 26 birds over the year, divided by 200MW gives 0.13 fatalities/MW, somewhat above the 0.09 limit specified by the PCFP, per page 22.

    Notice how they word things – I guess they know who pays their salaries. The 0.04 rate they claim is for just half the year, and only includes raptors. The PCFP is quite clear – it’s an annual rate and includes both vultures and raptors.

    As I get time I’ll be writing more on my site at http://windfarmrealities.org

  4. While I find 0.07/MW not to be “far below” the threshold of 0.09/MW for raptor/vulture kills… what about threshold for all the other birds kills?

    The total number of bird kills of 6.99 per turbine (or 3.04/MW) is much higher than the national average of 2.18 per turbine and much higher than the raptor threshold of 0.09/MW.

    Why does the notification threshold not include the results from all those other birds?

    I guess they got skewed.

  5. I find it to be somewhat of a
    warped mentality when you
    can rationalize that these
    fatalities are acceptable only
    because they do not exceed
    the norm of other sites.
    The MNR/MOE should be
    reproached for their lack
    of concern.

  6. I’ve posted my reactions on my site http://windfarmrealities.org

    and in addition to the high mortality rate, it appears that the habitat density for raptors on Wolfe has declined from 1.92/km to no more than 0.4/km. What is that, an 80% decline?

    Nice work all around.

  7. There were probably a few raptor kills taken out of the report to take the number down. Who is watching them count? Who is deciding whether or not a kill is counted? No one who cares. The survey methodology is limited in scope. It does not take into account the injured but killed or any kills outside of a specific survey area. The numbers produced are meaningless other than to determine that birds are killed. Didn’t we know that already?

  8. Yeah, and who was counting the dead bats, schmucked beneficial flying insects and the mangled, feathered amputees that managed to flop-fly out of the counting zones? And did Transalta/CHD bother to do a herptile survey on the ground before the vibrating turbines started? If so, did the sensitive frogs and reptiles hightail it for less disruptive environments?

    And what about the energy costs relating to the displacement and disturbance of flying migrants? Anyone from Big Wind take that into account? Nope!

    For a thorough overview of the subject, please go to the wildlife section of this site and read Location, Location, Location…Migration, Migration, Migration.

  9. So, how are they going to count the bird deaths when there’s 60-150 out in the lake? Wait till they wash up on shore?

  10. So sickened. Is this the death count list like the ones from Auschwitz? Erecting structures in flight paths that kill our wildlife is criminal.
    Where are the people who care about animals now? Ringworm at the SPCA is news but approval for deathtraps in our open skies isn’t?

  11. Simcoe, you make a good point. Some of the birds will certainly die out on the lake and never get counted. And while they are in their death throes, they’ll get torn apart and eaten by hungry scavengers like gulls. Lovely! No evidence to wash up on shore.


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