Species-at-risk bird mortality continues on Wolfe Island

Wolfe Island Post-Construction Report #5  –  Read Wayne Gulden’s excellent critique here.

  • Birds: 31 carcasses found, adjusted to 131, down from the report of a year ago.
  • Raptors: 7 carcasses found, adjusted to 16, up a bit.
  • Bats: 7 carcasses found, adjusted to 41, down from last year.
  • Winter raptor density: improved from last year, at 0.54/km.
  • Notifications: 6, half for raptors, half for Bobolinks.

38 thoughts on “Species-at-risk bird mortality continues on Wolfe Island

  1. Thank you Mr. Gulden for this excellent summary. “Let’s face it – the government and industry are simply not interested in protecting the birds nor their habitat. Not when there’s money to be made.”… pretty well sums it up.
    Stantec, in its cumulative assessment report in defence of the construction of the Ostrander project indicates all told from the projected wind power plants for Ostrander, Amherst, Ernestown, White Pines and the existing Wolfe Island wind ‘farm’ with a projected total of approximately 243 IWTs, that avian deaths will be negligible – around 2000 per annum. Interesting enough though, the Stantec report on Ostrander also states: “In spring, approximately 70,355 targets were detected.Of these, an estimated 41% were detected between 50 m and 150 m above ground…..In fall, approximately 160,649 targets were detected. Of these, an estimated 50% were detected between 50 m and 150 m above ground…..

  2. Wayne and Jane

    Here in the Clear Creek/Cultus/Frogmore IWT ZONE, we don’t get the neat assessment reports from Stantec, nor the MNR nor AIM PowerGen/IPC/IPR – GDF Suez that you get, but anecdotal reports of sitings of the sleekest, handsomest coyotes ever to be found in southern ON are RIGHT HERE in the CC/C/F IWT ZONE.

    Our coyotes hardly have to lift a paw to get several filling meals of bird or bat every day, but spring and fall migrations are THE BEST!

    • An Environment Canada reviewer questioned the Wolfe Island report’s scavenger rates: see 3a at http://www.scribd.com/doc/77020225/Environment-Canada-Comments-Wolfe-island-wind-turbine-bird-bat-mortality-Monitoring-Report-5MonitoringReport5. So did a retired wildlife ecologist who lives on the Island.

      If the turbines are thinning out the resident population of raptors, say, AND scavengers below are becoming more efficient, one might expect to find fewer and fewer dead birds under turbines over time. A Wolfe Island hunter told me that any remains from his kills are gone the next morning (presumably consumed by coyotes). One would expect that scavengers would learn to regularly visit a sure source of meals such as the ground under a wind turbine (c.f. a hunter’s intermittent leavings).

      It should be easy enough for citizen-volunteers to monitor local scavenger rates. Use chicken heads (= songbird/bats) and whole, feathered chicken carcasses (= raptors), following protocols in methods sections of published papers (google-scholar to find), if not in Stantec report. (Good to consult a biologist from a local university or naturalist group about sound experimental design.) Establish initial scavenger rate and any change in response over time. If you fear industry will lowball estimates of scavenger rates, it might make sense to get preconstruction reads as well. Publish results, if possible.

      (Anecdotally (two sources), there were more voles on Wolfe Island last summer. The hunter, during 60 years on the Island, had never seen so many. Vole populations cycle naturally, of course, and a Stantec report (the year before?) noted low vole abundance, if I recall correctly. I haven’t seen any studies on raptor, coyote and vole interactions pre- and post-construction, though. Ditto snakes, which I think are sensitive to infrasound?)

  3. Some say that pet cats kill more. A cat kept inside like mine kills zero birds.

    There are people who try to justify the carnage by saying that highrise colliisions kill more. Does this mean that it’s OK to knowlingly add to the carnage?

    • For proponents of IWT’s, relative bird kills (i.e. cars,cats,
      buildings) would only serve a purpose if the turbine
      factories themselves served a purpose. They don’t.
      While we analyze/rationalize actual bird mortality rates,
      we fail to quantify the cumulative effect that the
      fragmentation/degredation of the habitat will ultimately
      have on the bird population.

      • Also known as “death from a thousand cuts”.

        By the time all the cumulative effects are fully known, most of the various proponents of IWTs will be in hiding, dead, out of business or content to just point fingers and spread the blame around …

        When that day arrives, it will give me some measure of pleasure to say “I told you so”.

        A lot of good that will do for all the victims …

      • The parties responsible for IWTs in rural Ontario should be identified as soon as possible.There is a lot of money involved in IWT contracts.
        Rural Ontarians also need to show their financial/money/purchasing muscle to some of those involved in IWTs.

  4. “Let’s face it – the government and industry are simply not interested in protecting the birds nor their habitat. Not when there’s money to be made.”
    A most curious and revealing statement Wayne…
    Of the four parties actually involved here; the government, the people (the first is SUPPOSED to represent the second), industry and of course the birds, only ONE, industry, appear to be getting money –and lots of it at the obvious expense of the economy, environment and especially THE PEOPLE!
    The birds sure as hell aren’t and the government has seen fit to sanction the unmitigated theft of the people’s money under the blatantly obvious illusion that Industrial Wind Turbines are in some measurable way a worthwhile and benign environmental pursuit.
    Our own blissful ignorance is fast becoming our undoing!
    Wikipedia tells us the first wind powered electrical generators were first constructed in the late 1800’s. By the early 1900’s wind powered electrical generators started to gain popularity starting in Denmark then spreading very quickly through the world. By the late 1930’s There were literally hundreds of thousands of these things powering private homes, farms, cottages, etc pretty much everywhere, manufactured by a multitude of companies some going out of business as late as the 1980’s. What killed this truly green form of energy was the advent of centralized generation and power distribution grids. Then, some individual(s) somewhere assumed (incorrectly) that bigger was better and that if one really big wind turbine could produce multi-megawatts of power, then by putting thousands together in massive wind farms, there would be “free” power for all as these wind farms could now be tied directly onto this new distribution grid. They had no choice really as, unlike small, private windmills, the massive amount of power these new monstrosities could produce randomly could not be stored in small battery banks. OOPS! The centralized generators could now become “free” powered wind farms! What a great idea especially from those who clearly had NO concept of how electricity grids work! Those early wind farms now stand derelict and abandoned. Gee, I wonder why? Sadly, absolutely NOTHING was learned from this massive failed energy experiment!
    Although it was the advent of the grid and it’s affordable, stable and reliable power that spelled the death knell for those thousands, perhaps even millions of small, private wind powered generators and provided the power required to pull the US and the rest of the industrialized world into the modern ages. The very aspect of electricity distribution grids makes them most unsuitable for the modern idea of wind power. The grid MUST remain stable and reliable at all times and at all costs! To connect massive, intermittent and unreliable generation to it in the form of industrial wind or PV solar, completely undermines this stability and reliability. The only way to maintain stability is to either “shadow” wind’s intermittency with conventional generation, if this is even possible, or to simply ignore these fickle contributions and “absorb” the output over as large a grid as possible so as to mitigate wind power’s dangerous and disruptive effects. This is currently done here in Ontario and on just about every other wind jeopardized grid on the planet! As aforementioned, small, private wind generators can store their output in affordable (ish) battery banks for use when needed. However, electricity, specifically intermittent, variable sources like PV solar and wind, CANNOT be stored on an industrial scale. In fact, the greater amount of wind or PV solar generated power a grid has the more unstable it becomes. To keep the subsidy gravy train flowing, the insatiable have now proposed a solution to winds unruliness –Smart grids: These yet non-existent multi-trillion dollar environment obliterating industrial constructs will actually REVERSE the way the grid currently operates: Instead if matching reliable, predictable and most importantly CONTROLLABLE supply to varying daily demand, this new smart grid will attempt to vary demand to match unreliable, unpredictable and uncontrollable supply??!!! Every energy using item in your home or business no mater how small or important, like your oven, fridge or freezer for example, will be controlled ostensibly in real time by the grid! “Well Honey, looks like dinner is going to be late. The grid shut off the oven again!” Or: “Boss, we can’t complete this urgent order for our biggest client because we don’t have the power to operate our equipment!”
    Does this sound like a world any of you want to live in?
    OK?
    Would you live in such a world if it was ABSOLUTELY improving negative human impacts on the environment?
    I might, however…
    Can anyone demonstrate empirically how literally carpeting the planet with industrial wind turbines and PV solar panels, then interconnecting all these generating assets and users with a smart grid, will help rather then obliterate the very environment we propose to protect? I’m very serious here! The absolutely dismal amounts of energy these constructs produce means we must cover vast expanses of the planet with them just to provide a mere modicum of the energy humanity is currently using. Actually REPLACING ANY conventional generation with industrial wind and/or PV solar has never been achieved anywhere on the planet! At least nowhere that I have been able to find to date!
    Unfortunately, “green” has become two detrimental things: 1) Operators of this obviously failed technology have become rich on the massive subsidies needed to make it remotely viable and aren’t likely to give this up willingly, quietly or truthfully! 2) The masses have chosen to remain ignorant and continue to re-elect green spewing politicians. The result is not only more of the same but also a dramatic increase in the outrageousness of the effort! The newly elected left-leaning government of Denmark plans on being fossil fuel free by 2050 intending to go it alone if need be. This in spite of the abject failure of her 100 year long effort in that regard. To date, Denmark uses MORE fossil fuels to generate electricity then at any time in her history. She was unable to shutter ANY coal and has added more natural gas to her generation mix such that now, it alone exceeds her total maximum wind generation!
    We must become reacquainted with the true meaning of green before it is too late.
    As for me I am working toward the construction of a small VAWT (5-10kw) that I can affix to my garage to charge a battery bank to power my house. Of course I will still need a small fossil powered generator (which I already have) and to convert my hot water tank and stove to propane ($$$). Then, I will flip the switch disconnecting me from the grid, remove the wires between there and my first pole and tell Hydro One to please cancel my account! I paid $0.2023 per kwh for electricity delivered to my house last month all charges included. (No Smart Grid). I’m guessing with a 20 year amortization on capital and fuel costs, I would save about $0.03 per kwh to generate my own electricity. For all of you with natural gas at your homes, you can buy a nat gas powered generator and generate you own electricity NOW for about $0.13/kwh all in.
    The purely ideological green energy policies much of the OECD have embraced will drive society, at least those that can, back to the way we generated our power in days of yore before there existed power distribution grids as outlined at the start of this diatribe.
    We will have come full circle! Ironically, we will then have truly green power!
    Truthfully…
    Sean Holt.

    • Amen! For those who have access to natural gas they can get rid of much of their Hydro bill using gas heating and appliances. Gas generator also good for power disruptions

      • A gas range goes a long way in beating time of use billing. I can cook anytime I want without worrying whether or not I’m paying top rate which runs through dinner time.

        While a gas range is more expensive to purchase, it does pay for itself.

  5. Senate calls for moratorium on some turbines due to bird kills
    http://www.wind-watch.org/news/2012/01/13/canadian-senate-calls-for-moratorium-on-some-turbines-due-to-bird-kills/
    The Senate of Canada recently unanimously backed a motion by Senator Bob Runciman calling on Ontario to institute a moratorium on wind-farm development along eastern Lake Ontario until the impact on birds and bats can be studied.

    Runciman noted the region from the eastern tip of Wolfe Island to the western end of Prince Edward County is a crucial route for migratory birds and bats.

    He is concerned about plans for wind energy projects on Amherst Island west of Kingston and at Ostrander Point in Prince Edward County, both of which would be located in internationally-recognized important bird areas.

  6. Well written Sean
    I looked after a cottage for many years that was totally “off the grid”. It only had two small solar panels and a couple of marine batteries along with propane tanks for the cooking and fridge and hot water and a couple of lights that were connected to the propane. It was a bit of work but well worth the trouble. He had a 5,ooo watt generator which he had to use about every two to three days for a couple of hours at a time,when the sun didn’t shine and in the winter when the sun was low. He asked the Solar supplier if he should also put a wind turbine up as he was located right on the shore of a fairly good sized lake. The solar fellow said he shouldn’t even consider wind as an option and if he had the money to invest it should be in more solar panels!
    That cottage is still functioning quite well after at least 15 years of “off the grid”………….when the ice storm hit here many years ago, the lad at the cottage didn’t even know that it was an emergency being declared all over Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec for 3 days…..only when he ventured out of his cottage did he realize that our grid was cooked!
    Now that’s what I call INDEPENDENCE!

  7. Industrial Wind Turbine development supporter, Mike Crawley has been elected President of the Liberal party. David McGuinty has not ruled out running for the leadership next year.

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