Every March 10,000-15,000 Tundra Swans migrate from the eastern USA seaboard to the Arctic tundra of Canada and Alaska. On their epic 6,500-kilometer migration the swans stop to rest and feed on the Thedford Bog and environs near Grand Bend on Lake Huron. The Thedford Bog area is a unique habitat ideally suited specifically for the migrating Tundra Swans, with its wide expanse of flat fields that feature large areas of ice, water and snow in March, providing safety and undisturbed quiet for resting, and food in the surrounding agricultural corn stubble fields for building strength. Tourists, photographers, bird watchers and outdoor enthusiasts flock to marvel at the spectacle of this annual migration every year. There are currently multiple wind turbine projects slated for the very ground that is the Tundra Swan migration habitat, and they are seemingly being rushed through final approvals (Notice to Proceed) to be completed by April and May, in the apparent absence of any credible environmental impact studies. These projects must be stopped as they may disrupt one of the last great migrations and could irrevocably destroy the traditional Tundra Swan staging and rest stop habitat that has been a vital part of their route for thousands of years. Time is of the essence with construction planned to start this summer.
See our Videos of the Tundra Swans' movements on and over a wide area around the Thedford Bog, 2007-present, and visit our Twitter page.
Tundra Swans are huge birds measuring 115–150 cm (45–59 in) in length, with a 168–211 cm (66–83 in) wingspan. They fly at altitudes of up to 8 km and speeds of up to 80 km per hour. Their approach as they come down to the Thedford Bog flats, both during the day and at night (when they may not be able see the turbines), is correspondingly long and very low. The proposed setbacks of 800-940 metres for the wind turbines that are planned to surround the bog may be therefore utterly, tragically inadequate not only when the swans will try to land on Thedford Bog and flats but also on the approach to any of the other fields in the area that they normally visit. In short, the turbines may kill and scare off the Tundra Swans with the likely result that the birds, in desperate need of rest and sustenance on their arduous migration, could cease to arrive in Grand Bend at all.
Links for further information:
Waterfowl specialist Dr. Scott Petrie; interactive map for project areas, turbine layouts; Ontario Wind Resistance projects, maps, health, wildlife; Saving bird and bat life from windfarm threat; North American Platform Against Windpower
Damning report on Ontario's Green Energy Act (GEA): "Eighty percent of Ontario’s wind power generation…is surplus and is exported at a substantial loss. The province has already lost close to $2 billion on such exports…The loss rate will continue to grow with every new wind turbine installation… In regions afflicted by the proliferation of wind turbine installations, there are additional costs to households due to lost property values, rural environmental degradation, and increased health and stress problems. These have not been taken into account in this analysis but, were they to be considered, the overall cost burden of the GEA would be even higher."
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