“The carnage was mesmerizing” (Ontario)

Dec 11, 2011

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… from the diary of a Tibbetts Point resident, Wolfe Island, Ontario (Canada)..

 

On Friday morning, September 30th, it was surprising to witness the destruction of a flight of Canada geese by one of the Wolfe Island turbines.

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I watched geese lift off and form up along the shore of Wolfe Island.  At about a hundred feet altitude they wheeled into the wind, heading in a west/southwesterly direction.  As their climb into the headwind slowly took them over Wolfe, the wind gauge at our house read a strong, steady 22-25 mph.  It was overcast.  The river rolling.

Crossing Wolfe, they flew into the plane of spinning turbine blades. (This one turbine is directly across from our home and closer to us, about 1.5 miles away.)

Through 8X binoculars the carnage was mesmerizing.

Imagine a scene of blade impacts repeatedly knocking dark puffs of feathers against a grey sky. With such a strong wind, limp bodies seemed to be blown backwards out of the turbine.

Amazingly, the rear portion of the flock followed into the blades; the birds seemed oblivious to the destruction of the flight leaders. With strong headwinds slowing their passage, the period of danger and destruction was prolonged.

After about two-thirds had entered this gauntlet, the flight finally broke off, lost it’s V shape, and scattered.

I called to my wife to run upstairs—but by then it was over. The time was 10, maybe 15, seconds.

It was strange to watch this happen in silence. I heard no honking. It seemed odd to witness movements that suddenly changed from the beauty of ordered, majestic flight to instant, plunging death.

It made such a vivid impression, I entered the details in my log that day.
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Editor’s note:  The author’s narrative has been lightly edited for clarity, without changing any of the substance or meaning of the original text.

  1. Comment by Melodie Burkett on 12/11/2011 at 2:17 pm

    This story is just so sad. Sadder still that no one will care (except us wind warriors).

    I love those pic’s! Should be on the front page of every newspaper in the world!

  2. Comment by Andrew on 12/11/2011 at 2:47 pm

    Pic’s?? Worth a thousand words.

    Editor’s reply: Alas, he didn’t seem to take any. Was it because it was on “posted” property, 1.5 miles away? I don’t know. I am aware that there is much tension on Wolfe Is. about the turbines, and lease-holders (and the wind company) don’t take kindly to people “trespassing.”

  3. Comment by Kaz on 12/11/2011 at 3:19 pm

    Everyone who knows an ornithologist or wildlife biologist (or bird enthusiast, in general) needs to forward this to them. Some of these guys testify in favor of wind developments and they need their feet held to the fire. Most want to do the right thing, but evidence and eyewitness reports are sorely lacking—or covered up.

    Thank you for continuing the efforts to educate about industrial wind.

    Kaz

  4. Comment by sue Hobart on 12/11/2011 at 3:47 pm

    Sigh….How can we justify this destruction? Apparently the human race has gone numb to Big Business Bullshit….

  5. Comment by Tracy on 12/11/2011 at 4:11 pm

    I was home once this fall. I heard the sound of a flock of geese and quickly ran to the door, excited that perhaps the geese have returned. I had not experienced this at my place since the development of turbines.

    As it turned out, it was a flock of tundra swans, sounding as beautiful as they appeared, flying in a westerly direction. I wondered what had changed, why is it now they have returned? Since the turbine development, wildlife abandoned the area as did I. The dominant sound had become that of the turbines.

    (I live on the north shore of Lake Erie, east of Clear Creek. My house is surrounded by turbines. The closest one being 400 meters from my home. The next one being not much farther. There are 18 turbines within a 3 km radius of my house.)
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    swans
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    What happened next, happened in a matter of seconds, like the mishap witnessed at Wolfe Island (above).

    The flock flew strong into the west wind. It continued in formation, except it was not moving forward—it was moving sideways, to the north. It appeared they were being sucked into the vortex created by the turbines.

    At one point they appeared to be back on track, making headway—but were again pushed into a direction unlike that in which they were flying.

    Eventually the flock appeared to break up and became lost in the distance.

    I stood there, not believing what I just saw. I thought about videoing it with my phone, but I knew there would not be time to get my phone. It was over before I knew it. I experienced a moment of beauty, quickly destroyed by wind turbines. It seemed to be the story of my life in Clear Creek since the development of the turbines.

    I returned to the place I currently live. I described the incident to my son. The weird part was, as terrible as it appeared, it was not alarming. It left me feeling devastated. I have not been home since.

    My son often goes back to check on things. I rarely go there, anymore. When I do, I can’t stay long; I become sick. I leave my house crying.

    Yesterday was another sad day. It has been a year since the passing of our Labrador dog, Emma. Emma had been herself. We had moved twice in the previous 8 months. She suddenly took off onto the road and was struck by a car. My son was home. I was on my way to a Christmas party when I received his call. I didn’t make it to the party. I returned to find my son with our dear, departed Emma.

    I did make it to this years Christmas party. Although it had crossed my mind, my son reminded me it was a year since the passing of Emma. That was all that was said. On my drive home last night, I was just a short distance from my home in Clear Creek. I debated making the slight detour to see it. I did go—not stopping but doing a slow drive by.

    There sat my home in the in the dead of night, bathed by the full moon and the shadows of the blades of the moving wind turbines, a ghost of an unforgotten past.

    I continued on to the place where I’m currently living. It was a quiet ride, as I observed the number of abandoned homes.

    Life as it has become in rural Ontario. I have been living this life for three years.

  6. Comment by Barry on 12/11/2011 at 5:20 pm

    You need to get video of that! I have been fighting these machines for 3 years and had a lot of success, but you need to make it obvious for the blinded Greenies supporting these things!

    Editor’s note: But won’t Born Again Windies respond with their standard line, “Yeah, well, cats kill more birds than turbines do!” As irrelevant and absurd as it is, that’s their knee-jerk answer when confronted about slaughtered birds.

  7. Comment by Jutta Reichardt on 12/11/2011 at 5:53 pm

    Reading this story, I could scream!

    When feeding our Canada geese tomorrow morning, I will cry!

    Several weeks ago, we lost a family from our flock of wild geese. Our fear is they flew into the wind turbines next to our property.

    Again and again we find single, shredded birds, especially birds of prey, but this story on Wolfe Island is so sad I can hardly stand it.
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    canada goose
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    Next Friday, hunters will come as they do every year, and try to shoot (as they do every year before Christmas) our wild Canada and Barnacle geese.

    The hunters are farmers and landowners nearby who want to drive us out because we spoiled for them the big business of the so-called re-powering (replacement of old, small wind turbines by large, new ones). With our Wind warrior friends we will try to protect our birds as we do every year.

    It is unbearable what Big Wind does to man and nature!

    With very sad greetings from Northern Germany.

  8. Comment by Tom Whitesell on 12/11/2011 at 8:32 pm

    What a horrible sad story. We see and hear many geese flying over and around Potsdam NY weekly, daily. The thought of watching them flying headlong into wind turbines is extremely disturbing.

  9. Comment by Tracy on 12/11/2011 at 8:58 pm

    Tom,
    When the turbines first started up, I had watched many approaching birds, geese, fly along the lakeshore and when nearing the turbines they would turn away. That is why I was so surprised of their return as I had mentioned earlier.
    It did not appear that they flew directly into the turbines, but were pulled towards them as they tried to continue flying in the other direction. One time the flock seemed to have been pulled sideways although they were flying – trying to advance forward. Just before the flock broke up, there was a moment when it looked as though they were being pulled backwards amongst the turbines located behind my house.

  10. Comment by Tracy on 12/11/2011 at 9:23 pm

    Anyone who is listening: it is helpful to discuss issues ahaws have on this site. I seldom speak about turbines to people in the community unless i am asked; and even then i am very careful as to what I say. The people are sick of hearing it; don’t believe it and think I am nuts! This in itself has become very depressing. I have found I keep more to myself; i am somewhat alienated. People in general do not care until the turbines are slated for their back yards. As well, people are now beginning to realize the increase in electricity rates. Hitting one in the pocketbook will certainly get ones attention. It is a sad state how society is governed by money. Forget about humility, issues of respect, values, the importance of a healthy society and environment.
    We can talk until the cows come home – with little progress. Drastic measures, I am not sure what exactly, are needed to pull out of this state of destruction. There are times when I deliberately stay away from “big wind” sites. I get sick of hearing about it. But the reality of this hellish existence is always with me. I am physically and mentally scarred.
    Has the world gone mad?!

  11. Comment by Willem on 12/11/2011 at 11:12 pm

    Wolfe Island is located where the Saint Lawrence River connects with
    Lake Ontario. It has been a roosting site of Canadian geese for many
    centuries.
    The wind direction is usually from the southwest up the river which
    flows northeast at that point.
    Because the island has strong and steady winds, wind turbines were
    built to produce energy.

    One day the winds were strong and steady at about 22-25 mph.
    A V-formation of geese struggled upwind at a very slow speed relative
    to the land. They struggled to maintain their V-formation against the
    turbulence created by the rotors; the rotors are about 350 feet in
    diameter, greater than the wingspan of a Boeing-747.

    As they came closer, a blade chopped up the head-end of the V; birds
    exploding in balls of feathers. The blades have a tip speed of about
    200 mph, the birds were unable to avoid the blades because of the
    turbulence.
    The headless V was quickly filled in by other birds just following
    their instincts, only to be chopped up by the next blade, and on and
    on, until the V became so ragged that the birds flew off in various
    directions.

    I just returned from a performance of Handel’s Messiah, an ode to the
    Lord, in our local church. I was thinking about how we, as people, are
    losing our souls piece by piece to the gods of consumption and
    tax-sheltered greed.
    Blessed be the birds.

    Have a Merry Christmas,

  12. Comment by steph 519 on 12/12/2011 at 12:46 am

    Barry, hi.

    I’ve been battling IWTs for seven years now -, first for the Major Migratory Flyway along the north shore of Lake Erie from Norfolk County and into Elgin County and for the last three years for my own life now that my house, like Tracy;s is surrounded by 18 IWTs all jammed in within a 3 km radius around it.

    would you please share the nature of your successes. The Norfolk Victims of IWTs will follow your prescription to the letter.

    I look forward to any insights you can offer us.

  13. Comment by Marsh Rosenthal on 12/12/2011 at 11:05 am

    The rulers of the world, those who hold power, seek to crush the goodness and sweetness and reverance for the life of all created beings out of us, or they would have us believe so. It is an offense when the wolves in “green” clothing destroy the lives we have made in the beautiful and wild places for “the greater good”. They see us as so many “cracked eggs”, political road kill.

    The other day I saw the incredible flight of the snow geese pass my eastern view, flying from north to south. They flew out of the reach over West Hill, the exact place that MinuteMan Wind, LLC. plans to erect five 2.5 MG wind turbines. I wonder if that will be the last such flight of those magnificent birds to survive the mayhem to come?

    I ask each of you who I reach with these words to open your heart and witness the anger that you must feel. I ask you to take up this anger and to sharpen it. I ask you to take this weapon, that is the gift of your birthright, this, and the shield that is yours to pick up, the “fight” mentality of your fight or flight response, and FIGHT!

    I am an adopted elder in the Cherokee Nation. I have studied the history of the American Holocaust and the Trail of Tears. Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull are alive in my heart. I am an educated person with a Master’s Degree in Cultural Anthropology and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with concentration in field biology and ecology, I am of the lineage of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust in Nazi Europe. I am a veteran of the resistance to the KKK of the Mississippi Summer of 1964.

    I am angry NOW! My blood is up. God help those carpet baggers and interlopers who would try to use the law to destroy my beautiful world with their abominations.

    Learn how to defeat them. Use every tree to shelter you. Dig any pitfall deep into the earth to stop their juggernaut. Find every way to remove from them the public monies that they have comandeered to drive forward their diabolical scheme. Make their backers and investors take flight.

    Show them your anger.

    Stand up!

    Marsh Rosenthal
    Savoy, MA

  14. Comment by Summer on 12/12/2011 at 7:08 pm

    Yes the world has gone mad, but we have to keep on fighting them every step of the way and it is time for drastic measures. There are already people in other countries that are being arrested for protesting maybe that is what we have to do in Ontario,