Today, remember NextEra, and their Nest Terror

There is this thing that Facebook does: reposts a picture or comment from any number of years ago that was on your timeline, sporadically, and calls it a Memory. I believe you are supposed to cherish these posts and sigh with, “Time flies!” or “Isn’t that cute?!”

FBEagleNestThis morning the picture of the severed eagle nest was there and Facebook said: “Esther, we care about you and the memories you share here. We thought you’d like to look back on this post from 3 years ago.” Ahem. Well now. Some people have sweeter memories than others apparently. I should like all the cute little pictures scattered around the gruesome one of the crane and nest – kittens, flowers, children – awww! But I hate to tell ya FB, that so called ‘memory’ still feels like yesterday, and not in a good way.

The night before the eagle nest was cut, my dad was dutifully browsing the “Friday evening approvals” by the Ontario government (you know, when the reporters have all gone home for the weekend and no news story can be made until Monday, when the lead has lost most of its heat), and he saw this permit issued to NextEra Energy to destroy an active bald eagle nest. Really. He called me up. We didn’t believe it. Read and reread it. No… they wouldn’t do that. I mean, even when the government would unthinkably hand you a permit to commit an act like this, you wouldn’t go and cut a rare (only forty-eight nests in SW Ontario), massive nest, that was currently home to two eagles, down… would you?

Oh but then we had to think, “What Would NextEra Do?” Well yes, they would cold bloodedly do this, they had an access road that had be plowed through to three of their proposed wind turbines (yet to be built) – and this road demanded that these trees (including one with the nest) be cut in order for the project to proceed. They like words like ‘proceed’, as in “Proceed as Planned”. They wouldn’t want to disrupt a Plan for a silly little (or big) nest.

In a panic that night, I posted the notice on Ontario Wind Resistance, hoping people would see it, but well aware it was Friday evening and many people, like reporters, are away from their computers, then. Yes, I was worried. What else could be done? We didn’t know if they would actually do it, but the permit only lasted for a few days (before breeding season started), so if they were going to act, it would be pronto.

Not knowing what we’d do the next day, I took that weird protective action that night of plugging my video camera in to charge it, just in case, and had a difficult time going to sleep.

I doubt my dad slept much either. By 7:00am he had called down to the folks in Haldimand to see what was happening. They said that trucks and cranes were already at the site. Oh shit! Should we go down there? Haldimand was a two-hour drive away, but the same damn company was destroying their area as was ours. I told him to hold on a sec, and called my partner-in-protest, Muriel. Because if Muriel came, we could do anything that needed to be done, no matter what we were dealt with.

Thankfully she answered; she was up and all packed up to go for a pleasant cross country ski that beautiful day. But Muriel can think and act fast and in a split second she said, ‘I’m ready, let’s go’.

My dad drove silently, probably wondering what the hell we were going to do when we got there. Muriel and I shared her ginger tea and tried to mentally prepare for what might meet us. I can’t drink ginger tea without reliving that drive – although nerve wracking, we had a strangely determined spirit running through us. Damn, forgot to bring a rope or something to tie ourselves to the tree if need be. We could just use our bodies or something lying around, not to worry. But in the back of our mind we knew the possibility of the nest surviving until we got there was slim – Harvey could only drive so fast.

Cars lined the road at the site, but the tree and nest were a good kilometer or so inland, and only company trucks, cranes, bulldozers and police cars were at the actual site. Jim, the man who took this picture, told us the nest had been cut, a mere five minutes before we arrived. Five bloody minutes. This led to five more minutes of feeling oh so useless. The deed was done, NexTerror won. It was hanging there, the nest, dangling form the crane, making me nauseous, yet angry.

The old video camera seemed to be burning a whole through my mitts, remember- battery charged and ready to go. I took a few shots from the road. This seemed empty and pointless, too. Then found myself pacing up and down the snowy sideroad, through the good people who mingled there, seemingly at as loss as much as we were. The police had warned them that they couldn’t go up the lane towards the nest or they would be trespassing, a word that most people don’t want to have to deal with unexpectedly on a Saturday morning.

Over the past few years Muriel and I were getting comfortable with this word, and what it meant, and why it was used to keep people away from seeing too much. First, where was the landowner who was demanding we be charged with this offence? Nowhere in site. I doubt he ever said such a thing. This was just a tactic that we had come across at protests when police wanted us out of the way, on the other side of the street, or when they wanted us to stop videotaping public meetings. Make something up to disperse the people and the tension with the threat of a charge. Deep down inside, we were willing to take the hit if it did come down on this one. Besides, we may not have been official ‘reporters’ to the scene, but we were citizen reporters when the official ones weren’t around.

I noticed Muriel walking out on top of the snow drifts; they were nice and hard – enough to hold our weight. “Wanna go?” she said. YES! And so we did, hiked cross-country over the drifts, well away from the cop cars and the company trucks, straight towards the nest. Yeah, we fell through quite a few times, once near a ditch, but made it there in good spirits.

Perhaps they were a little surprised when we showed up. What do you do with people like this? The camera was running. The police officer hung around us, a gentle young green one, not really anticipating to have to deal with this situation. We tried to explain to him what he was watching because he didn’t seem to understand why people were upset. Told him it was an active nest. Oh no, he said, I’m pretty sure it’s just an old one that isn’t being used. Oh brother. This was the line the wind company had fed their guards?? Everyone knew this nest was active – locals had been watching and documenting the pair of eagles for the last few months. He seemed to think that it was just a matter of “relocating” the nest, like the company was doing, and everything would be hunky dory. This just pissed me off more. The spread of lies. It’s never so simple to just “move a nest” or “move a home”. Well, he’d find out soon enough that he’d been strung along by NextEra that day.

It took eighteen men to cut down this nest. No, I wouldn’t have been so stupid to go out there on my own, or without a video camera. If something happened it would become my word against eighteen others – you just don’t put ourself in those situations. But with Muriel and a camera with me, I felt as strong as needed.

The noise of the vehicles running, and chainsaws, was the first thing noticeable. Back at the road where we had started, none of this could be heard. For a couple hours we remained as the nest was lowered. It seemed like they didn’t quite know what do with it now that there was an audience. Would have been so much easier to throw it on the burn pile or bury it with the rest of the trees they were going to bulldoze down and under. Instead they fiddled with it, raising lowering, cutting off more trunk.

We could see the corn husks and feathers inside the nest now that it was dangling to the side. Not an active nest, eh? It was like looking at the remants of a home after a fire or a tornado had struck. In this case, NextEra had hit.

Hours passed. The cop wanted to take our names and info down. We gave it to him and of course nothing came of it. But this was the last time I provided my info to a police officer that asked, and yes I was asked several more times in the next year, each time refusing and not another word said from the police officer. Remember this people, these are the magic words: “Have I done anything wrong? Are you charging me with anything? Am I under arrest? No? Then am I free to go?”, and he will mutter ,”yes, yes you are free to go” and turn to walk away. But before he goes too far, point over at the goons who are destroying a protected eagle’s nest and tell him to gather their personal info, and then he should head over to the MNR and the premier’s office and get their date of birth as well – because THOSE are the people committing the crimes.

The cold was setting in when a pickup truck came flying up the road. Fred’s truck! Hey Fred, how’d you get in here past the security? Oh he just came to pick us up (hurry, get in!). And off we went. At the end of the road sat NextEra’s Josie and Tom Bird in a pickup truck watching the destruction. I can’t remember if we waved or not. Maybe a finger.

Eventually they got the nest on a flat-bed trailer, wrapped it up in a bright blue tarp and trucked it away to ‘storage’. Who stores a bald eagle nest in their garage?!

Remember, NextEra was going to reinstall the nest somewhere else, away from the wind turbines because they didn’t want the eagles to get killed by their machines. That idea failed, for the blatantly obvious reason that a nest is too fragile. Would they ever think of moving a robin’s nest to another tree (far away) and believe it would just somehow stick in the branches and be as good as new?

In the end NextEra gave the nest away to a school – as if it was theirs to take and give away.


I posted the video footage a few days later, in it using a parodied image calling the company NexTerror for their actions in destroying this eagle nest. This image had been used for about a year, with not a word of protest from the company. But this was apparently too much for them – the video was being shared far and wide and they couldn’t deny this time that they were really living up to the word in their latest nasty blunder. They demanded I take the video down, I refused, they sued, and three years later it remains a stalemate. That single day turned into a lot more than a simple ‘memory’.

~Esther Wrightman

23 thoughts on “Today, remember NextEra, and their Nest Terror

  1. I have been using a photograph of an angry and upset eagle as part of my signature for these last three years; Sleazebags all, those conniving, greedy, manipulative, corrupt wind developers, destroying anything in their path to big bucks. Made off to the bank like banksters.

  2. Esther:
    It’s so good of you to share your thoughts with us! Your poignant story will certainly evoke memories for many readers, myself included. Three long years, indeed! Hopefully, it will serve as a catalyst for us to renew our strength and resolve to oppose and be rid of these evil and corrupt people.

  3. Wow, three years ago!

    It seems like only yesterday that Goober the wind wanker, wanting his 15 minutes of fame, glared into the video camera and blamed Stephen Harper for this whole mess, before a supervisor told him to get back to work.

    Movie? Call it the “Hateful Eighteen”!

  4. Thanks for sharing this Esther. It made me feel about the same way I always do when I have to ask a veterinarian to euthanize one of my beloved animals when there is nothing more that can be done to alleviate their suffering. It’s a sad situation for sure when our elected officials give the ok to maim, kill and plunder even though the people who elected them vehemently oppose their actions. @Hobbesian… don’t blame the wind developers, they are in the business of making money. Put the blame squarely on Windy Wynne and Squinty McGuinty for allowing it to happen. THEY are the ones who are ok’ing these massacres of nature. Democracy my r’sssss! We are living under a dictatorship that allows naturicide and death by propellers. HRH does not give a diddley squat about rural Ontario or the people and the wildlife who inhabit it. Perhaps people will wise up when the next elections roll around.

  5. Government employees can face misfeasance charges the same as elected officials.

    Clean Energy Pipeline, 2012

    Section on Project financing and legal advisors starting on p.24.

    Has which law firms did the most renewable energy business up to 2012. The 2013 Report can be obtained by Googling but doesn’t have as much information.

    Guess which law firms did the most business?

    More recent Clean Energy Pipeline reports require a subscription.

    Were any complaints about this situation filed with OPP or RCMP regarding permits? Eagles are migratory birds.

  6. Instantly, I sensed that the event would go down in infamy. I had to go and see it for myself.

    We arrived just in time to get photos of the gigantic nest, loaded on a trailer, being hauled away behind a truck. Never– in all my years– have I seen something so absurd.

    Two days later, the honourable member of provincial parliament who represents Haldimand & Norfolk Counties, Toby Barrett, issued the following press release.

    Yes, it’s true, Ontario has a Corruption problem…

    For Immediate Release
    January 7, 2013

    “Removal of eagles nest smacks of big money CORRUPTION: Barrett”

    Last minute approval of habitat destruction for wind towers, “Unconscionable”

    Selkirk – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett says approval to remove an eagles’ nest east of Selkirk smacks of big money corrupting Ontario government procedure.

    The tree hosting the nest was cut down Saturday, January 5, 2013, to make way for an access road for a Next Era wind turbine. The Ministry of Natural Resources published permission for the removal at 5pm Friday, January 4.

    “Frankly, I feel betrayed – I was in communication with the Minister’s office through December, and we were never alerted to this unconscionable decision until it was too late,” asserted Barrett. “I got to the site on Saturday just after the nest had been removed.”

    Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal green-lighted the Next Era project last fall following a month-long hearing in Hagersville.

    “Clearly the Ontario government and its Green Energy Act have corrupted the system – with so much money to be made by government’s wind proponent friends, concerns for wildlife and rural values are steamrolled while opponents are kept in the dark,” Barrett intoned. “We’ve been told that the nest was removed to reduce eagle mortality – a clear admission that wind turbines kill eagles.”

    Barrett arrived at the Lakeshore Road location early Saturday afternoon. Neighbours had informed him that the nest was “active” – despite official remarks indicating the opposite – and that there have been a number of eagles inhabiting the area over the last 4 to 5 years.

    The Haldimand Norfolk MPP noted that it was just a few years ago that a dead eagle was found near the base of a wind turbine in Norfolk County – government officials at the time described it in the media as a “careless eagle”.

    “As with the Caledonia–Six Nations debacle, area people feel abandoned,” Barrett said. “People ask me, ‘if government isn’t going to follow the rules, why should we?’”

    • Office OF
      Inspector General
      U.S. Department Of The Interior, Dec. 8, 2015

      Report on the Investigation

      Only the issue about an invitation to participate in a panel at a conference is dealt with.

      Nothing on other “pressures” issues on Department /DOI employees is included in this report which were in the initial DOI-IG Report which can be obtained by an internet search.

      Follow the link to the Dec. 8, 2015 PDF Report.

      • Type in the address or Google. Government information gets moved around or archived.

      • “There have been too many instances where the Department’s IG office has been mismanaged by Deputy Inspector General Mary Kendall, serving as acting Inspector General, and IG Chief of Staff Stephen Hardgrove. For too long, their accommodation of the Department’s leadership have compromised and undermined the professional work of the IG’s career staff. It is time to end the decline in trust that has resulted from their administration of the IG and provide the office with a clear leader empowered with the authority that flows from the permanence and independence of a Presidential nomination and Senate confirmation,” wrote Chairman Hastings in the letter to President Obama. “I urge you to act without further delay to nominate a well-qualified, uncompromised individual to serve as a permanent Inspector General for the Department of the Interior.”

        Presently, Ontario does NOT have an Ombudsman, just an “Office Of”…

  7. “Never– in all my years– have I seen something so absurd.”

    The absurdities of this oppressive imposition continue to this day. So many people in this province have lost their moral compass. They behave for the most part as if they are powerless to confront this absurdity; as if they have fallen into a ‘moral coma’.
    Its time for those who haven’t fallen into a ‘moral coma’ to gather en masse and raise their collective voices like never before. The future of this province is at stake.

    The next stage of this opposition must come from non victims. People who are struggling on a daily basis with the noise and infrasound radiation from these turbines are under far too much physical strain to do this work on their own.

    • I believe we ARE powerless under this REGIME! Gathering en masse has done little to change anything to date (just count the victories against the losses!) and unless the masses start doing something that scares the crap out of Big Libby, we are at her mercy. Continuing to vote for her relieves her fears and reiterates that she can do no wrong. Canadians are good at jumping and saying do you want us to jump higher your excellency? Just throw us a little tidbit and we’ll support you no matter what! It’s time for new strategies and time for a ‘rebel yell’ from a leader who is not afraid of jail time.

  8. “Given to a school”. That eagle’s nest should be in the protective custody of either the OPP or the RCMP until the issue about how a permit was issued to remove a migratory bird’s nest.

    Pawn the nest off on to a school and involve a school in this affair. Hoping no one would notice. Nest was in effect destroyed!

  9. Another look at Networking.

    Sustainability Network, Toronto
    Organizational Report 2015

    Board includes:
    David Love, Chair
    Amanda Gomm, Greenpeace Canada

    Strategic Advisors include:
    John Lounds, Nature Conservancy Canada
    Devon Page, Ecojustice Canada

    Supporters include:
    Ontario Trillium Foundation
    Ivey Foundation
    Tides Canada
    Suncor Energy Foundation

    And much more.

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