Sturgeon Refinery

Notice: Noise Cannons to Deter Migratory Birds

Migratory birds are returning to and moving within Alberta now that spring is upon us. Flocks are searching for any available open water for a pit stop on their flight. The health and safety of these migratory birds is very important to NWR. We use noise cannons to deter birds from landing on the water ponds at the Sturgeon Refinery site.

What are noise cannons?

Cannons are an effective method for deterring migratory birds away from an area. The sound scares them before they have a chance to land. The cannons are about as loud as a thunderclap or chain saw. Several cannons are placed around the water ponds and set to go off at regular intervals. Cannons are directed toward the ponds in a way that minimizes noise disturbance as much as possible to neighbours nearby the refinery site.

Why use noise cannons?

This is one method to help us protect and reduce our impact on the environment. Other methods are used to deter birds in addition to cannons including scarecrows, colourful flagging, and regular rounds by our operations team to generate human activity in the area. It is a federal regulation for industrial facilities to prevent impact to migratory birds; therefore, several facilities in the area, including the Sturgeon Refinery, use noise cannons through the spring, summer, and fall.

If you have any questions about the cannons or our operations in general, please contact Vanessa Goodman at