Casinos to watch the skies for disoriented birds

Matthew Gauk
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The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Association is watching the skies for birds, but is going ahead with plans for Teepee Lights at each of their gambling facilities.

The Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Association is watching the skies for birds, but is going ahead with plans for Teepee Lights at each of their gambling facilities.

Pat Cook, vice-president of corporate affairs at SIGA, said that casino staff at Yorkton are working with Environment Ministry conservation officers to keep track of how the spotlights are affecting birds.

Last week, CBC News reported that Yorkton residents had found "hundreds" of dead birds around the spotlights.

An Environment spokeswoman said the working theory was that migrating birds were getting confused and disoriented by the bright lights, flying around until they tire out. They are then forced to the ground, sometimes getting killed in the process.

Cook said they will turn the lights off if they find more dead birds at Yorkton. Managers at other casinos have been informed of the situation and will do the same should the situation arise there, she said. But so far it's been an isolated incident, according to Cook.

SIGA is also limiting the use of the spotlights to four hours a night until the migratory season is over.

"It's something to generate excitement and interest in our casinos," Cook said, explaining the use of the lights as a marketing tool. "The purpose is to provide a bit of a wow factor for people when they come up to our entertainment."

For more details, see Thursday's Herald.

Organizations: Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Association, Environment Ministry, CBC News

Geographic location: Yorkton

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Recent comments

  • S
    November 20, 2009 - 08:21

    I feel that I should add to my recent comment. I do feel that there is some real environmental concern with the birds dying, but I also disagree that it is an eyesore. I find it quite pretty. I apologize for any misunderstanding and for my rudeness to anyone offended by my offhand remarks.

  • Nature lover
    November 19, 2009 - 23:14

    What a waste of energy in a time when we are all asked to be more environmentally friendly. I thought first nations have a deep respect for mother earth and all her children. Sacrificing more birds is not a good example.

  • Jason
    November 19, 2009 - 21:23

    I have news for you, Nature lover. First Nations people are exactly the same as you and me. The myth that they are somehow caretakers of the earth should be relegated to the same status as believing that Norwegians are great sailors or Mormons are made of discarded corn cobs (I made up that last one). We should all be caretakers of our own back yards, and if greedy behavior leaves that yard full of bird corpses, we should be judged accordingly.

  • one
    November 19, 2009 - 21:17

    Once again we the people said Time & Time again. LIGHT UP the dark and dangerous riverbank. we thank you once again MR. STIGLITZ.

  • Caroline
    November 19, 2009 - 01:24

    Where is the Wow factor in dead birds and redundant lights shining into the sky? If this is what wows people who go to casinos, then they must be even more stupid than I think they are.

  • S
    November 19, 2009 - 01:24

    Hahahaha.... you people are happy to be bitching about anything huh?!?! It is a very small piece of sky that gets lit up, I mean really!!! Do you also want a bylaw for ugly people to stay indoors because they are polluting your beautiful views of nothing? You guys really need to take a good long look at yourselves before you start complaining about lights from the Indian run casino. To be that unhappy with oneself, to find and complain about trivial things.... I'm sorry for you :(. Yes, there are birds dying, but some of the remarks go beyond that...polluting the sky...people being stupid if they are impressed with the attempt of a WOW factor. It's those people who this comment is aimed at. I hope they don't ever travel to a place where there are many more lights aimed towards the heavens. Pointless trip. They'd be complaining and boo-hooing over the sky pollution! Get a life!

  • Ron
    November 19, 2009 - 00:07

    If the lights are the problem then Las Vegas should buried with birds by now. The lights may attract the birds but I think there are probably other forces at play in the deaths of of them. I just finished reviewing a large bird kill at a wind turbine (1) that was discovered by a local, yes the birds were all around the turbine dead but they had been poisoned. While the lights may be tacky and an eyesore, look at all the facts before you blame thme

  • Jerrie
    November 18, 2009 - 21:59

    These lights are really tacky. The only wow factor here is Wow, what a waste of money. Why are there enforceable noise bylaws but no light bylaws? These lights make PA look like a fourth-rate Las Vegas. It seems that the Casinos have abandoned any sense of corporate social responsibility.

  • umm
    November 18, 2009 - 21:28

    hey one stop preaching ur cause already, u yelling it out everywhere isn't gonna get it done faster and personally its getting annoying! The city doesn't light up the casino so it has nothing to do with this story!!

  • Caroline
    November 18, 2009 - 20:51

    To S from Prince Albert. Yes, there is indeed some real environmental concern, and not just because of the dead birds. The fact is that one of the things for which your province is famed is its DARK skies, and this type of pollution robs everyone of the ability to enjoy them, not just close by the casino but up to 30km away, which is not a very small piece of sky . Do you think it right that a commercial enterprise should be allowed to despoil the environment to advertise their product?

  • Maurice
    November 18, 2009 - 18:40

    Yes, this is real news. Lights for ground lighting at airports are tightly controlled for the safety of aircraft, and navigation lights are low powered, not high-powered spot lamps shining upwards. The lights are wasteful, tacky, ugly, and may cause a hazard to aircraft. The worst part is the loss of the night sky from the light pollution. The night sky filled with stars is our shared heritage, and its loss affects all of us.
    There must be bylaws enacted to stop such outrageous waste and degrading to eliminating the night sky.

  • Dave
    November 18, 2009 - 17:58

    At-a-boy Jason. Is this real news? What happens with other lights in the city, such as the airport lights and the fence and tower lights at the Pen?