Syncrude Canada president Tom Katinas has announced that 1,606 ducks died in one of the company’s tailings ponds last spring and not the original 500 that was suspected.

The ducks drowned in the tailings pond last spring and the original estimates were a joint effort between Syncrude and Alberta Fish and Wildlife. What skewed the numbers however were the amount of ducks that sank in the tailings pond and only resurfaced weeks and months later.

Syncrude employees later collected, counted and then numbered the birds so that they could be traced back to the original incident.

The birds were drawn to the tailings pond since other bodies of water in the area were still frozen.

At a press conference Katinas said, “Let me once again say how truly sorry we are that this happened on our site.”

Syncrude has promised to take preventative measures in the future to avert another incident. Their efforts will include providing more noisemakers and scarecrows to deter the birds from landing on one of the few open-water spaces available to them in the region during a late spring.