MNR: Wind Turbines kill raptors… So, easy fix: chop down their nests
“However, biologists are also concerned that leaving the nest in this location may have led to adult eagles being killed or injured due to the proximity of the nest to wind turbines.”
Letter from Minister of Natural Resources:
Thank you for your e-mail to my predecessor the Honourable Michael Gravelle about the removal of the bald eagles’ nest in Haldimand County. I appreciate that you took the time to share your views, and I am pleased to respond.
Expanding clean and renewable sources of energy is key to the government’s plan to phase out coal-fired generation, mitigate climate change, create green jobs and support technological innovation in renewable energy.
The Summerhaven Wind Energy Centre, located in Haldimand County, is expected to produce enough energy for approximately 32,000 homes in Ontario. This project is contributing to the development of clean renewable sources of energy so Ontarians will have a sustainable supply of power now and in the future.
This project has been awarded a Feed-in-Tariff contract by the Ontario Power Authority. It has also received the Renewable Energy Approval from the Ministry of the Environment and an approved Natural Heritage Assessment (NHA) from the Ministry of Natural Resources. No Significant Wildlife Habitat was identified at this location during the preparation of the NHA.
Since receiving all required approvals for this project, bald eagles (listed as special concern in Ontario) had built a nest within the project location in a tree that was scheduled to be removed for the construction of a road, and within 20 metres of the blade sweep of a proposed turbine.
The nest was removed to avoid disturbing eagles during their critical nesting period. The eagles have only recently begun selecting nest locations and there were no eggs or chicks in the nest. It is anticipated the adults will find another suitable location to nest as bald eagles are known to use more than one nest.
I understand the company plans to install artificial nesting platforms within the surrounding area, to allow for the eagles to relocate safely. My ministry is currently working with the company to find suitable areas where nesting sites can be erected to attract eagles.
I appreciate the concerns that have been expressed with the removal of this nest. However, biologists are also concerned that leaving the nest in this location may have led to adult eagles being killed or injured due to the proximity of the nest to wind turbines.
The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act helps to promote the conservation and protection of wildlife and its habitat in our province. It was under the authority of that legislation that my ministry provided the company with the authorization to remove the nest. The nest was removed while it was vacant and prior to the nesting season to ensure there was no direct interaction or disruption with an eagle, its eggs or its offspring.
My ministry is often asked to make difficult decisions regarding the balance of safeguarding our natural resources and sustainable development. In this case, I believe we have struck the right balance and made the right decision.
Again, thank you for writing. Your interest in the well-being of Ontario’s wildlife is much appreciated.
Minister of Natural Resources