View topic - syncrude's 500 dead ducks

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PostPosted: October 29th, 2010, 1:52 pm 
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Location: Beaumont, AB
I'm getting a bit worried as this was quite a bad year for birds flying into the windows of my home and dying. We have had at least 4 birds hit our windows and die this year, maybe more that we do not know about. At the going rate ($3M for 1600 ducks, or about $1875/duck) this could potentially cost about $7500. Of course, 3 of those birds were sparrows, so they gotta be worth a little less than ducks, say $1000 each. The fourth was a hawk, which is probably equivalent to a duck, maybe even a bit costlier. So probably about $5000 in total. Damn, there goes my fly-in trip to Saskatchewan next summer.

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PostPosted: October 29th, 2010, 2:12 pm 
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Splake wrote:
Erhard & Idylwyld- Don't you think it's fair to ask why a dead duck in northern Alberta is worth more than a dead rose-breasted grossbeak in Toronto?
All fair points … but I like the canary in the coal mine analogy. A bird flying into a skyscraper has only the wind at it's back. Perhaps the skyscraper could fall down in an earthquake, or some office tenant is busy hatching the next doom and gloom financial instrument or unregulated ponzi scheme. I'm actually a little worried about ice-breaker ;) But the bird flying into a tailing pond is sitting in a pile of goo 1/5th the size of Lake Simcoe (when you add them all up) and held back by the slimmest of barriers and weakest of regulations. The issue is primarily the actions and good word of the company (do we trust them to do their own regulation), and best practices in the oil sands. I don't think there's any point to suggesting we don't need the oil sands, but I'd like them to adhere to the toughest of industry standards. I think it's pretty much accepted that Suncrude is the most risky of players up there (and hence in need of a bit of extra attention and regulatory hand holding). I could be wrong. But if there are "real" alternatives to tailings ponds, we should be using them (or spending serious money on developing alternative approaches).


Last edited by idylwyld on October 29th, 2010, 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: October 29th, 2010, 2:19 pm 
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Erhard & Idylwyld- Don't you think it's fair to ask why a dead duck in northern Alberta is worth more than a dead rose-breasted grossbeak in Toronto?

Idl'y has got it right: it's a way to introduce a spin that deflects from the real issue. By talking price per duck, one deflects from the issue that the company was flouting binding stipulations - and that's what it got fined for.
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If you want to read any opinion into the article then I think it would be more appropriate to take away the impression that skyscraper owners and tenants in Toronto should also be held liable for killing birds.

If the article spelled out that there should be laws drawn up that make it an offense to kill such masses of animals when there are easy and inexpensive ways to avoid that (e.g. turn off the lights during bird migration weeks) I'd agree with you. But the way how it's written, I perceive it as an attempt to ridicule our judicial system.

Maybe you are a real up-beat guy and see no evil in people, no matter who.... :clap:

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PostPosted: October 29th, 2010, 2:51 pm 
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Yeah, I'm not buying it, I think you guys are shooting the wrong messenger on that article, but that's just an opinion. :wink:

I do think that it's fair to ridicule the lawmakers - actually I think that's considered a sport in most cases - and I do think that any ridicule is at the law not the judicial system. The judicial system assessed a fine based on a law. It's just sad that the law doesn't put a value on a dead rose-breasted grossbeak in Toronto. Sure you can avoid killing birds with skyscrapers. Lots of mitigation steps possible beyond just turning lights off.

An old (now) catch phrase was "think globally, act locally". I know you both have a deep care for the environment. I know you both care about environmental impact on birds in the oilsands area. I think you should take that article as challenge to look at environmental impacts on birds more locally as well. What can you do locally to offset the incremental mortality from the oilsands development?

I'll admit that I also think the article is a challenge to people to be objective in evaluating the impact. 200 ducks in a year in Northern Alberta vs 300 birds in a day in Toronto? Neither is a good thing, but which is worse?

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PostPosted: October 30th, 2010, 7:14 am 
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Splake wrote:
An old (now) catch phrase was "think globally, act locally" ... What can you do locally to offset the incremental mortality from the oilsands development?
For me, Canadian oil sands ARE a local issue. One of the largest refineries for the stuff in N. America is just down the road from me in Whiting, Indiana, and discharge from the plant directly impacts my drinking water. There's a five year reprieve over approved expansions of allowable discharge of ammonia and mercury into Lake Michigan because of expanded tar sands production, but it's just really a matter of time. For me, it's water quality that stands at the top of my list: in the Athabasca River (which has the potential to impact such a vast area), and in my back yard. The rose-breasted grosbeak looks like a compelling and stout bird, with a very beautiful call. Kind of a cross between a black turnstone and painted redstart (the males), but in grosbeak form :) We have several active bird collision monitoring groups in my area. I'm rooting for them to make it safely on their journey between their northern and southern ranges.


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