EBR Comment 4

Dear Ms Raetsen

Regarding Horizon Wind’s Avian Impact Study from their draft REA for Big Thunder Wind Park

I am currently waiting for an avian professional’s interpretation of these numbers but for me, an admitted amateur, they do not add up at all. Once again, Horizon could “not locate or employ the services of a highly qualified bird surveyor who was available and willing to undertake the surveys when required.” Therefore, they had “a skilled outdoors person equipped with high quality recording gear” who carried “out a series of point counts” complete their study. As I stated in earlier correspondence, this laughable fact, given the overall stupidity of the siting for this project next to an ANSI, in peregrine falcon habitat and close to their nesting sites and overlooking 1000 homes and an elementary school etc. etc. makes this approval process a joke. I feel, as an active citizen, taxpayer and an employer in my community, this project was done without any useful consultation or due process.

Just the bird numbers, for example:

Horizon’s Avian Impact Assessment: Flat Top Mountain: 48 species plus 9 raptors and Canada Goose, Common Loon and Pelican

Thunder Cape Bird Observatory on Sibley Peninsula: 93 species, excluding raptors, owls, pelicans, geese, loon, grouse etc.

Checklist of Birds of Thunder Bay District, Ontario – 5th edition, Dec.31, 2010: 361 species  ref: Thunder Bay Field Naturalists

Additionally, the numbers above from Thunder Cape Bird Observatory includes only species with a minimum of at least 10 birds per year, on at least 5 separate days. The Thunder Cape Survey, includes 45 more species or 48% more observed species and leaves Horizon’s Avian Impact Study looking totally inept, inaccurate and certainly not credible.

Even if you extrapolate the numbers based on their days and hours they observed, Horizon’s numbers are grossly less than the numbers from Thunder Cape. Horizon was there for 9 days in winter: 6 days for 2hrs each and 3 days for 3 hours each. Horizon’s skilled outdoors person’s “Point Counts were made at 36 locations for 10 minutes each between a half hour before sunrise and the first 5 hours of sunlight.” ” All counts were carried out between 13 june and 4 July, 2008.” (A 21 day period) Without more specific data about this survey, one is only left to compare Horizon’s gross numbers with the daily estimated totals (DET) from Thunder Cape. The DET at Thunder Cape is derived from a combination of census, total number of birds banded and incidental observations throughout the day. To extrapolate Horizon’s numbers to make them a maximum count, their numbers could be multiplied by 4. The following gross numbers are for only those species counted in both recorded inventories. Raptors, loons, eagles, hawks, owls, ducks etc. are NOT included.

So let’s compare the gross survey numbers shall we:

THUNDER CAPE OBSERVATORY (DET)                                         HORIZON’S AVIAN IMPACT ASSESSMENT                                                                                                                   spring          fall                        observed in 21 day (6 hours total) study and 9 day (21 hrs total)

Cape May Warbler               534.1         326.9                                                                  1

Magnolis Warbler                196.8         248.4                                                                  15

Swainson’s Thrush                76             328.9                                                                   6

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker       –               24.9                                                                    21

Golden-crowned Kinglet       101.8        737.3                                                                    6

Hairy Woodpecker                 –               110.8                                                                   10

Hermit Thrush                        –                 28                                                                        4

Northern Flicker                    115.5         152                                                                       9

Purple Finch                          101.9         399.9                                                                    3

Red-Breasted Nuthatch         79.1         1195.6                                                                  13

Song Sparrow                        240.5          390.9                                                                   1

Winter Wren                           29.6            74.8                                                                  20

Black-thrt’ed Blue Warbler     29.3            24.4                                                                   3

Chestnut-sided Warbler         131.3          53.7                                                                   10

Eastern Wood-Pewee             13.1             –                                                                         5

Nashville Warbler                  201.3          360.9                                                                  18

Northern Parula                       26.4             10                                                                     11

Rose-breasted Grosbeak        77.9              15.2                                                                  17

Ruby-throated Humm’bird       84.3             74.6                                                                   5

Scarlet Tanager                       10.9               –                                                                       7

Blue Jay                                  741.5         1254.9                                                                 12

Common Raven                      36.3             501.1                                                                   6

Pileated Woodpecker              –                  27.3                                                                     2

White-throated Sparrow        178.8           188.9                                                                   25

American Redstart                 254              660.4                                                                   26

Black and white Warbler         85.3           135.1                                                                   24

Blk throated green Warbler   168.6          182.4                                                                    29

Canada Warbler                     53.6             86.6                                                                     18

Least Flycatcher                     26.5             36.8                                                                     14

Mourning Warbler                 17.1              56.9                                                                       6

Ovenbird                                47.4              39.4                                                                     36

Philadelphia Vireo                 14.6              14                                                                          1

Red-eyed Vireo                     50.6              155                                                                        32

American Crow                     76.8              236.7                                                                      1

American Robin                    97.4             1752.8                                                                    32

Brown Creeper                     13.5               132.7                                                                      2

Cedar Waxwing                   1345.8          3187.6                                                                    13

Downy Woodpecker                11.6          1132.9                                                                      8

As you can see, the Horizon’s study numbers appear significantly lower for virtually every bird.

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