Subject: Fw: Fall bird count discrepancies between Horizon’s REA and Thunder Cape
Dear Ms Raetsen:
I have listed below the discrepancies between fall bird counts (section 4.3) in Horizon Wind’s draft REA Avian Impact Assessment and the fall bird counts from Thunder Cape Bird Observatory on the same coastline mountain range as the proposed wind farm. The numbers are so low, that it would lead one to believe that this point survey is also totally inadequate and not credible. Thunder Cape’s daily estimated total (DET) is derived from a combination of census, total number of birds banded and incidental observations throughout the day.
Horizon’s fall raptor survey states that there was 108 hours of observation over 18 different count days. 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, “a skilled outdoors person equipped with high quality recording gear was enlisted to carry out a series of point counts.” Is this a joke?
Further, Horizon states that “the Big Thunder site consists of a large forested area of rocky and sharply variable terrain, most of it only accessible on foot and by difficult navigation through dense forest into isolated areas.” This means that a thorough study was too difficult, so they settled for an inept, inadequate bird survey. Surveys of this type may serve Environment Canada’s protocol for truly remote sites, perhaps on the Canadian Shield 500 km north of Thunder Bay with no road access, but the Big Thunder site is about 3 km from my home and a few hundred metres from a ski hill within a township. There is no excuse for this.
Here are the fall bird count comparisons:
Thunder Cape Bird Observatory (DET) Horizon’s Avian Impact Assessment
Ruby-throated Hummingbird 74.6 1
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 24.9 6
Downy Woodpecker 1132.9 18
Hairy Woodpecker 110.8 2
Northern Flicker 152 10
Pileated Woodpecker 27.3 17
Least Flycatcher 36.8 2
Northern Shrike 100 1
Red-eyed Vireo 155 8
Blue Jay 1254.9 65
Common Raven 501.1 211
Black-capped Chickadee 3844.1 56
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1195.6 81
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 369.8 4
Swainson’s Thrush 328.8 2
American Robin 1752.8 30
Black-throated Blue Warbler 24.4 1
Black-throated Green Warbler 182.4 3
American Redstart 660.4 1
White-throated Sparrow 188.9 3
Snow Bunting 222.6 14
Pine Grosbeak 42.3 31
Purple Finch 399.9 3
Pine Siskin 2940.3 218
American Goldfinch 239.6 19
These bird counts in all but one case, do not look representative of the true bird population of the region’s mountain range / escarpment. How can Horizon accurately state in their draft REA that “There are no Important Bird Areas within the range of influence of the Big Thunder Wind Farm Site”? They are basing this statement on inaccurate data.
The MOE must reject this project!!! There are so many reasons why, the avian impact assessment being just one of them.