Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Bird expert threatens ducks

Here's an interesting piece of irony.  Dr. Scott Petrie was featured in a CBC article "Wind turbines threaten swans, says bird expert", where the article states:

Dr. Scott Petrie said building industrial wind farms in Grand Bend, Ont., will scare the birds from their annual migration stop.
He said the province isn't considering how the 250 turbines proposed for the area will affect wildlife.

He is quoted as saying the same thing in this article almost seven years ago when the Erie Shores project was in the planning stages:
E.T. (Ted) Whitworth, Councilor Ward 1 of Norfolk County in attendance at the function commented on recent objections put forth by biologist Dr. Scott Petrie from the Long Point Waterfowl and Wetland Research Fund and representatives from Bird Studies Canada to wind turbines in Norfolk. Dr. Petrie said at a recent Norfolk County Council meeting that, in his opinion, wind turbines in the Messiah’s Corners area would alter the path of tundra swans that use the area as a staging (feeding) area on their migratory route. Councilor Whitworth said, “I’ve lived here all my life and never seen a dead swan . . . the Bird Studies Canada building that’s a 3 story, 100’ long, glass walled giant would kill more birds than a wind turbine.”
Two years after construction, there have been no swan injuries at the Erie Shores project.  In fact, a report by ornithologist Dr. James Ross, showed a thriving bird population.

Apparently, Dr. Petrie is an avid hunter (he even lists "hunter" on his resumé) and was featured in a segment of Canada in the Rough.

Thomas will be joined on today's hunt by Tim Brandt of Federal Premium Ammunition, with them will also be internationally acclaimed waterfowl biologist Scott Petrie. Scott heads up "Long Point Waterfowl Research", he and his group have significantly contributed to the health and future of waterfowl and waterfowling, not just in Long Point but throughout North America. Our Ontario duck hunting adventure begins with a wonderful public land hunt at Long Point with Thousands of ducks on the water and in the air, and winds up at the historic "Turkey Point Company" hunt club, as we take part in a traditional wetlands duck hunt with "Ducks Unlimited Canada" past president "Dr. Duncan Sinclair". 

Renewable energy developers are required to perform an Environmental Impact Study prior to receiving an authorization to proceed.  In contrast to Dr. Petrie's assertions about wind turbines and birds, the developer of the wind farm in Grand Bend, Northland Power, is undertaking a number of studies as part of its application:

Field studies are ongoing to confirm the presence, significance, sensitivity and abundance of wildlife and wildlife habitat, including:
o various bird surveys;
o bat habitat surveys;
o dens, tracks and scat surveys;
o amphibian call surveys;
o turtle and snake surveys;
o incidental observations; and,
o targeted species at risk surveys.

An Environmental Impact Study will be completed to identify potential impacts and recommend mitigation measures to minimize impacts.

If required, a permit or permits under the Ontario Endangered Species Act will be

Consultation will be undertaken with relevant First Nations and Métis communities

These studies, in turn, are subject to scrutiny by the public during a review period plus by the Ministry of the Environment.
Has anyone performed an environmental assessment of the slaughter of millions of birds by hunters such as Dr. Petrie?  Or whether shooting at them as they are resting during their migration might "scare the birds from their annual migration stop" (to quote Dr. Petrie).


  1. I wonder if Dr. Scott Petrie fires blanks when duck hunting, or even intentionally shoots left or right depending on his objectives, political or for the pot.
    Dead-eye Roger

    1. Too afraid to put your real name down incase the good doctor decides to use real ammo?

  2. Some people are absolutely out to lunch. Does a tree hugging hippy lose their credibility because they use a piece of paper to write their notes? No. Hunting is a legal, ecologically and economically sustainable practice that does not threaten wildlife behaviour in the same way IWTs do. Whoever attempted to promote this 'smear campaign' is an absolute idiot; if the guy lists "Hunter" on his resume, do you really think he's trying to hide it...get serious...

  3. This is a serious matter, with significant ramifications to discuss. Lay off the attacks on people and deal with the issues.

  4. Firstly about the attack in regards to the hunting. Dr Scott Petrie has done more to protect wildlife and sustainable populations than anyone I know. His mentorship of the young people of this province come second to none. As for the IWT's I have learned more about the impact of IWT's from him and I would highly suggest that many pay attention to his message before it's too late.

  5. The wind turbine people are obviously trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator by attacking Dr Petrie. Anyone with half a brain wouldn't buy their crock of BS. Anyone who knows Dr Petrie can easily laugh this off as a foolish attempt to discredit him.

    1. I don't think it's even an attempt to discredit Dr. Petrie, as despicable and wrong as that tactic surely is. I think it's actually just the veiled attempt of one individual, who makes his living in the wind turbine industry, to blow some smoke in front of the facts that nobody can really build an economically sound case for wind turbines without jacking the conventioonal pricing to consumers, let alone an environmentally sound case for cluttering first the countryside, and next the lakes, with these hideous machines without knowing what catastrophic impacts they might have.
      Locating hundreds, no thousands of IWTs in the lakes, in Ontario and the neighbouring States, is going to necessitate a name change because those magnificent lakes could not continue to be Great.

      I'm with Scott. And I'm a hunter. And I buy and use electricity.

      Archie McLarty

  6. Paul Brisco, London24 February 2012 at 10:28

    This ridiculous attack on Dr. Petrie, in the face of the scandalous absence of proper science by the wind turbine developers and promoting government agencies, comes in response to a shift in public opinion as the average person finally starts to realize the the foolishness of the overall wind turbine program and the devastation it is doing to S/W Ontario. Our politicians will come to rue the day that they started down the devastating wind turbine road.
    Paul Brisco / London

  7. Scott Petrie PHD, waterfowl biologist and hunter has infinitly more credibility than the private interests and critics who attempt to smear his reputation and discount his expertise. This province continues to soften the implementation of environmental regulation with declining due diligence, downsizing, and reduced budgets for environmental ministries who are supposed to implement environmental protection. In all fairness, there are probably too many regulations out there these days. If you are a proponent, there are plenty of regulations and hoops to jump. Regulations alone will not protect our environment. We must have knowledgeable people with common sense, working in the field to implement sensible and comprehensive regulation. Unfortunately, in Ontario we don't seem to have that today. It's really all smoke and mirrors these days. We have too many hired consultants and declining numbers of publicly employed experts to protect the public interest. There are merely several check boxes on the road to approval. This process does not protect the environment and private citizens have little ability to effectively counter private or other development interests. In such a state, we are fortunate to have people like Scott Petrie representing the public interest and drawing attention to issues.
    On the issue of hunting; hunting is likely one of the most highly managed and regulated activities. The North American Migratory Bird Treaty/Act and Federal and Provincial Fish and Game regulations amongst others are very comprehensive in dealing with the management and harvest of wildlife. The hunter and his activities are very highly scrutinized and regulated to ensure the distribution and sustainablility of wildlife polulations for future generations to come. In addition, the collective econonomic benefit of hunting is monumentally more valuable than the private interests who want to implement projects such as IWT.
    Scott Petrie has attempted to bring legitimate concerns to the fore and I believe he and those he represents are entitled to a fair shake without mud slinging from ill informed individuals.

  8. wind power is not the source of energy for tomorrow, give it up, your wind turbines kill just as many if not more birds than hunters. and i know, im a wildlife mortality tech at a wind farm in southern mn.

  9. What a ridiculous article, the efforts of the author to discredit Scott based on his past time are laughable at best. Biologists and hunters like Scott and groups like Long Point Waterfowl have done more for wildlife than any other group. Important migration areas like Long Point and others in the Great Lakes region are there largely due hunters willing to put the time and money into protecting these areas.

    Dr. Petrie and The Long Point Waterfowl don't hide the fact that they are hunters. The Long Point Waterfowl web site states on their main page, “Long Point Waterfowl is a non-profit, non-government organization dedicated to waterfowl- and wetland- research, conservation and education. We are also committed to the celebration of our hunting heritage.”

  10. The reality is that today's hunters understand a lot about wildlife preservation. They understand that the death of a few individuals in a population through hunting does not usually have a negative consequence on the population. They know that it is habitat preservation that is key to wildlife populations. So what is contradictory here is that a hunter is claiming that wind turbines represent a threat to wildlife populations, despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Birds see wind turbines, and fly around them. There is not even significant evidence that it alters migration routes, which may not have consequences on populations anyways. The average wind turbine has two bird kills per year. That makes wind turbines, even if we had 10 times as many as today, less of a threat than cars, housecats, hunters, pesticides, habitat destruction, cellular towers, or office towers, to name a few man made obstacles.

    The other thing missing here is climate change, and air quality. If you don't get your electricity from wind, you have to get it somewhere else. Burning coal to make electricity causes smog, acid rain and climate change. Burning gas causes climate change. Smog kills people. We know this from measuring admissions to hospitals, and death rates, following bad air days. It is not a big leap to state that smog therefore must also kill wildlife. And scientists are predicting that climate change will have major consequences on wildlife, as the average weather that species have adapted to changes faster than they can evolve to handle the change.

    Ensuring healthy wildlife populations has many challenges. Wind turbines are not one of them.

    1. I'll bet we're talking about scientists like Al Gore!!!

  11. I bet he does more to preserve wildlife and research it than you do. Even with his hunting... which has been done for thousands of years.

  12. Theodore Smith Photography28 February 2012 at 10:28

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  13. This post is so ridiculous and such an obvious attempt to smear a good man. Why don't you windies go find something better to do with your zeal.

  14. ad hominem |ˈad ˈhämənəm|
    adverb & adjective
    1 (of an argument or reaction) arising from or appealing to the emotions and not reason or logic.
    • attacking an opponent’s motives or character rather than the policy or position they maintain : vicious ad hominem attacks.
    2 relating to or associated with a particular person : [as adv. ] the office was created ad hominem for Fenton. | [as adj. ] an ad hominem response.

    Clearly used by people with no valid argument or ethics.

  15. Let's not make any mistake about this folks. Scott Petrie thrives on being in the 'spotlight' on issues like this, and if it makes him money as well, all that much better. He's been doing this as a self-proclaimed expert of wind power and birds ever since Erie Shores was put in around Port Burwell and surrounding regions. The NIMBYs and non-hunting bird watchers love this guy, maybe even more than his hunting counterparts. Oh, he'll cite various papers on 'compensatory mortality' to try to justify that his killing of birds is of an entirely different nature than that of turbines killing birds. One could argue that bird kills by wind turbines are also 'compensatory'. It is pure human opinion as to the 'purpose' of such birds being killed, but regardless, shotguns kill birds just as well as blades of wind turbines. So, basically what this guy is doing is no different than the 'pot calling the kettle black'.

    Oh, and there are lots of mitigation dollars spent by the power industry to offest environmental effects, just as Petrie would argue that hunters conserve birds, habitats, etc, to mitigate the hundreds of thousands to millions of birds that meet their demise from from the muzzle of a shotgun.

    Birds can and do quickly learn the positions of static structures such as buildings, power lines, wind turbines, and learn to steer clear of these. Birds aren't able to do this as well with hunters who frequently change their interception positions and who camoflage themselves to look like a cornfield or a cattail.

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