SOS October Newsletter

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SOS October 2016 Newsletter
Restoring the Bald Eagle: A Forty Year Journey – Presentation Wed. Nov. 2 by Mike Allen

FREE COMMUNITY EVENT - 7 p.m., Barker High School Cafeteria, 1628 Quaker Rd., Barker

New York State has played a crucial role in bird conservation history and the dramatic story of saving the bald eagle takes place in Western and Upstate NY. The steep decline of the eagle in the 60’s and 70’s was tied to the introduction of DDT, an insecticide that traveled through the food chain into the eagle population, thinning their shells and resulting in the decimation of the bird population. Use of DDT was banned in 1972. Just south of Rochester, near Hemlock Lake, was one pair of bald eagles nesting but unable to produce young. The plight of these stunning birds was dire.

Mike Allen was one of a team from New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation who began a bold and untested bald eagle restoration project in 1976 that brought this majestic bird from one inactive nest to close to 300 nests in New York State today! Within the last several years it has become more common in our area to witness the stunning sight of a bald eagle soaring overhead. There are four active nests in local refuge areas and several more identified on private land in the surrounding area. Come and hear from Mike Allen the fascinating details of this story, with Western NY playing a prominent role. It’s a “not to miss” presentation. There will be a drawing for a matted and framed eagle photo by local wildlife photographer, Doug Domedion, as well as a drawing for a 19” flat screen TV.

The proposal to build 70 industrial wind turbines that will rise over 600 feet into the sky with blades over 200 feet long make it imperative that we learn what we can about the potential impact to our land, our lives and the local wildlife. One key concern is the intention of Lighthouse Wind to install turbines directly in the path of the major bird flyway along the Lake Ontario shore. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has stated in its comments to the Lighthouse Wind Preliminary Scoping Statement that “the risk to wildlife from operating wind turbines could rise to severe levels.” Their radar study, released in July 2016, has confirmed that the altitude at which migrating raptors and songbirds are flying is within the area that turbine blades would potentially be operating. The study is available here:

The eagle population in our area is directly threatened by wind turbine installations, the increase of which in the U.S. has led to a growing number of birds killed by colliding with the blades of the turbines. As the American Bird Conservancy states, “The annual loss of birds from wind turbines was estimated as high as 573,000 in 2012.” They go on to say that if the wind industry continues expanding across the U.S. as it plans to, we could reach a time when 5 million birds are killed by collisions annually.

A study released in September from Purdue University shows how raptor and industrial wind turbine interaction can result in the death of birds from outside of the wind turbine project area. It's known that golden eagles and other large raptors living near turbines are killed by those turbines. "Eagles tend to use that habitat around the turbines. It's windy there, so they can save energy and soar, and their preferred prey, California ground squirrels, is abundant there," said J. Andrew DeWoody, a Purdue professor of genetics in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. "As they soar, these eagles are often looking straight down, and they fail to see the rapidly moving turbine blades. They get hit by the blades, and carcasses are found on the ground under the turbines.”

The study used DNA samples to determine that golden eagles killed at the Altamont Pass Wind Resource Area in northern California can come from hundreds of miles away. Altamont is one of the oldest wind farms in the country and with around 5,000 turbines, it is one of the largest in the world. The Purdue findings indicate that environmental assessments “should take into consideration that animal populations affected by wind turbines may not be just local.”,-study-finds.html

This presentation about the history of saving the bald eagle in New York State is part of an ongoing effort by Save Ontario Shores to provide educational opportunities about birds in Western New York. Former local resident and biologist, Brett Ewald, spoke last fall and this past spring about Western New York birds and raptors that migrate seasonally along the lakeshore.

Thank you, all, for your continued support. We hope to see you on Wednesday, November 2nd at 7pm!!



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SOS is 100% funded by generous local individuals. Please consider joining this work by giving what you can. SOS is a not for profit corporation and it is not a tax exempt organization, so donations are not deductible for tax purposes.

Checks can be sent to:
Save Ontario Shores, Inc.
PO Box 216
Lyndonville, NY 14098

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The TAKE ACTION NOW page on our web site is a step by step guide to help you participate in our fight against the installation of industrial wind turbines in our community!

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