By Dan Healing, The Canadian Press via 660 News
CALGARY – Oilsands giant Suncor Energy says it is mystified by the discovery Sunday of dead and dying birds at a nearly complete northern Alberta mine that hasn’t produced its first official barrel of oil yet.
On Tuesday, the Alberta Energy Regulator announced it was dispatching an inspector to the nearly completed Fort Hills oilsands mine north of Fort McMurray after Suncor reported finding 123 waterfowl and songbirds near a tailings pond.
“On Sunday … a group of birds were discovered in the north end of our Fort Hills tailings area and had to be euthanized,” said Suncor (TSX:SU) spokeswoman Nicole Fisher in an email.
“The majority of birds impacted were horned larks (a migratory species). The larks are not native to the area so we are engaging with wildlife experts as well as the regulator to determine what additional measures we can put in place.”
She said the company has launched an investigation to figure out why the birds were in the area despite the presence of working bird deterrent systems, including cannon, radar and scarecrows.