By David Judd, Port Dover Maple Leaf
The sighting of a barn owl may seriously delay construction of the Port Ryerse Wind Farm. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has confirmed that at least one of the endangered birds was spotted in the Port Ryerse area this summer. Wind farm developer Boralex last week agreed to delay construction of the four-turbine project for one month while the ministry investigates further.
If the barn owl merely stopped over in Port Ryerse on a flight to its home elsewhere, the wind farm project won’t be affected. But if the owl took up residence with a mate, the province might order a one-year moratorium on construction within one kilometre of the owls’ home. Further owl sightings could lead to a five-year moratorium.
Barn owls are an endangered species in Ontario. The province had only four pairs in the early 1980s. This summer’s sighting in Port Ryerse was the first in Ontario in about five years. Residents took photos and retrieved feathers to document the owl. Some villagers say they saw two owls and heard the owls talking at night. Many Port Ryerse people have fought the proposed wind farm since its announcement in 2011. Read article