Dead ducks found at Kearl oilsands site
Freezing rain may have exhausted birds: zoologist
Dead ducks were found at another oilsands site north of Fort McMurray, Alta., this time at Imperial Oil's Kearl oilsands project, CBC News has learned.
Ten birds were found dead at the site, which is still under construction.
On Monday, hundreds of ducks died after landing in tailings ponds belonging to Syncrude Canada, Suncor Energy and Shell.
There are no tailings ponds yet at the Kearl mine, but workers found dozens of birds among heavy machinery on Tuesday.
Ten were dead, although none had oil on them.
Another 20 were still alive and eventually recovered to continue their migration south.
"These birds landed in some distress and it's a matter of letting them simply recover their strength and carrying on," said company spokesperson Pius Rolheiser.
Operations shut down
Employees did what they could to save the birds, he said.
"The actions we took included moving them to a safer location and then primarily just watching them, making sure that they were out of harm's way until their own regeneration or rejuvenation put them in a position to take off and continue on their way."
Employees shut down operations for a few hours to look for other ducks, said Rolheiser.
Zoologist Colleen Cassady St. Clair of the University of Alberta said it’s more evidence the hundreds of ducks that landed in tailings ponds this week were exhausted after flying in freezing rain.
On Monday, 350 ducks died after landing on Syncrude's Mildred Lake tailings pond, while 40 more died on Suncor ponds. The numbers are expected to rise as recovery operations continue.
Oilsands companies are obligated under federal and provincial law to prevent birds from landing in the toxic ponds.
Last week, Syncrude paid a $3-million penalty for the deaths of 1,600 ducks in one of its tailings ponds in April 2008.
With files from the CBC's John Archer