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A waterfowl.

The Alberta Energy Regulator is investigating reported incidents of waterfowl coming into contact with oil sands mining infrastructure.

The agency said Wednesday that it is looking into reports that birds were seen near project sites, including in tailings ponds, in the Athabasca oil sands area.

The AER said it is ensuring companies in the area are taking all steps to respond appropriately.

The agency did not disclose the operator of the site being investigated.

The number of waterfowl and the extent of the impact have not been confirmed.

Tailings ponds are used to hold materials that are left over after the targeted mineral is extracted.

Environmental laws require northern Alberta oil sands producers to have deterrents in place to keep waterfowl and other wildlife away from mining sites.

In 2010, Alberta-based Syncrude Canada was fined $2.63 million when more than 1,600 birds died after they landed in a tailing pond at a company site in 2008.