A report in the Whig-Standard on June 12 stated that 1,270 bats were killed by wind turbines on Wolfe Island between July and December of last year (“Bat, bird kills alarm group”). It does not say how these bats were killed.
An article in the Scientific American of Aug., 28, 2008, reported that bats are not killed by the blades of the turbine, which they can detect with their sonar. Instead, they are killed by low-pressure air generated behind the blades that bats cannot detect. The sudden change in pressure when bats fly into these low-pressure areas causes blood vessels to burst in their lungs, resulting in extensive bleeding. In effect, the bats are suffocated by their own blood, a most appalling way to die.
The extensive killing of bats by wind farms was first reported in 2004. The means of death was determined on a wind farm in southern Alberta owned in part by TransAlta, the same company that owns the wind farm on Wolfe Island.
Bats eat large numbers of insects, so the impact of their death can have major ecological impacts. Before any more wind farms are approved, TransAlta and other wind farm owners should make clear how they will prevent the death of both bats and birds. If this cannot be achieved, then perhaps the existing wind farms should also be closed.
David Dennis, Elginburg