Change in air pressure kills bats

Kingston Whig-Standard, 5 July 2010

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

23 thoughts on “Change in air pressure kills bats

  1. Each one a miracle of creation…impossible to measure their suffering, and our loss.

  2. It amazes me that these bat deaths didn’t serve as the “canary-in-the-coal-mine”. The very large and fast turbine blades produce bat-lung-rupturing extremes of air pressure. These same extreme pressure variants are what produce the high levels of infrasound which impact on the health of area residents.

    The term CATVIE best describes the effect .. “Clear Air Turbulence Vortex Infrasound Effect”.

    Until cross-discipline studies are conducted (Health, Acoustics, Atmospheric Dynamics, Engineering, Statistical Analysis), we’ll keep on spinning our individual wheels as we try to counter the pseudo-science BS of turbine proponents!

  3. Clair,

    They are killed either by the prop of the turbine or are killed by a fluctuation of air pressure that they fly through/by, which is created by the spinning of the turbine blades or sweep path of the turbine blades.

    Long story short, because of this change of air pressure it creates embolisms in their tiny lungs and they virtually drown in their own blood. In humans it is what can be best described as what happens to SCUBA DIVERS who come to the surface to fast, which is called the “BENDS” I hope this helps.

    With regards to Wolfe Island, the only bats that were counted in their post-construction monitoring, were carcasses that could be sent off for testing, further stats where only taken from specific turbine locations so really how many were there killed over the 77 days that they were collecting data. Then think about all the wind turbines facilities operating in Ontario presently, how many bats are these wind turbines killing?

  4. Thank-you for this information, Barry. There must be some people in both “government” and the Big Wind companies who care about these exquisite creatures – and who know that people are directly affected as well, in a more drawn out way.

    Yet they allow themselves to be silenced, which will cause them much ill health.

    What puzzles me is that sooner or later, or even now, some of the muzzled ones must be living with turbines, and suffering ill effects. How do they manage to relate with neighbours and to stifle their suffering?

    Is there such a clear line between those who are affected and those who seem not to be bothered whatsoever?

  5. Maybe I can answer my own question by surmising that they live lives of quiet desperation.

  6. The “canaries in the coal mine” have been getting slaughtered at an alarming rate for many years now. The wind industry has done it’s best to minimize the seriousness of it and keep it out of the news. The public’s asleep. The government doesn’t care. The environmental NGOs are in bed with the wind industry.

    The windustry is not about environmental stewardship, it is about one thing…and one thing only…MONEY.

  7. Claire,

    I can only mention the town in the States that very much wanted the turbines and rejected one families suggestion that maybe they should look into this a little further. I forget how long the project was up and running but the people became very disenchanted and went public in a video (available on this site) and regret very much the hasty decision that they made. They said they felt very foolish and saddened every time they looked at the beautiful home, sitting abandoned by the family that tried to warn them, an empty home as a testament to the life dreams stolen by an over zealous industry and embraced by a naive community that just wanted to be green.

  8. Yes, Mr. Alias, I am aware of the means and physiology of bat injuries and deaths.

    Perhaps in saying “I hope this helps”, you were attempting to shed light on their suffering. I have not had “the bends”, but I am informed that there is a great deal of pain involved.

    As for “the count”, we can be sure it is much, much higher. The complicity of those who do the counting must be extremely hard to live with.

  9. Can’t prove this but this is the very first summer in our home in 35 years that we haven’t seen a bat!……..I know as I have had great difficulty keeping them out of our peaked roof which is 38 feet from the ground. This spring I placed a bat house on a 30 foot pole in the yard next to our house and to date….not one bat has shown up…………..I suspect others in our area are witnessing the same thing as I believe these beautiful little creatures come right up to us from Prince Edward County each year which lays directly south of us…….

    I anyone has ever had the pleasure as my wife and I did when we were in the Okanagan, of accompanying a bat researcher and his crew out into the desert to trap bats at night and tag them, I can tell you these little creatures are an absolute perfect flying machine that no human will ever duplicate ever!

    We held baby bats in our hands and they sucked on our finger like babies do and then held adult bats that were so fragile and light weight you couldn’t even feel them unless they moved……..

    These Queen’s Park people have no idea that their is even life outside the pink walls that has meaning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Sorry I thought maybe you were just coming on line as many do each day asking things to better understand so I thought that my lay-mans version of what takes place might help that was all, yes I am sure it must be pain full, I hope that they die before they hit the ground, no suffering

  11. Thank-you, Melodie. You say that the community “just wanted to be green.” But what about all the bribing and leasing and money to be had by some members of the community?

    The naive and trusting have been exploited by the wind industry, it’s true. However, it is true also that blind-trust proponents have been sacrificed by some of their “friends” and neighbours.

    I think it is key to remember that the wind developers are not the only perpetrators. And land-leasors and corrupt town/city officials must be held accountable.

    The under-belly of “green” is “green-back greedy.”

  12. Melodie, can you let me know how to find the video you referred to?

  13. The video Melodie was referring to, I think was this one: in two parts.

    It is based on the Dec 19 interview of residents living near the Fox Island “community-based and funded” wind facility in Vinalhaven, ME who are now experiencing problems with turbine noise.

    This project consists of 3 GE 1.5 MW turbines and was commissioned on November 17 so it took only one month before the fit hit the shan.

  14. Thanks very much, MA.

    And “only” three turbines! Sholy Hit!!

  15. Thank you MA, I watched the video again , both of them and that is the one I was referring to. It is since that video with even more information coming forward that people have been more brave in stating that wind turbines are not even green.

    Back to topic, bats are very green and necessary. The mothers nurse their young. Even David Suzuki wrote a letter to a woman who had written him about bat deaths in Alberta. He stated clearly ” that this should be a major concern, placement of turbines is very important and we had better make damn certain they are placed properly” “Raise bloody hell to make sure they are placed properly” Of course now we realize that wind turbines should not be placed anywhere, for all the reasons that have come to light. But is the government listening? Is the wind industry listening? Trans Alta in the Alberta study was going to try and install inaudible LFS or HFS on top of the turbines to discourage the bats BUT….. THE BATS COULDN’T HEAR IT or FEEL IT OVER THE LOUD NOISE OF THE TURBINES. What does that say to the effect on us?

  16. Is David Suzuki listening? He just seems out to lunch on this – by choice?

  17. Suzuki?? Phhffft.

    Sure, he’ll quietly tell the locals to give em hell but he will not make a peep or lift a finger himself. Nooo way. Too many political connections and heavy funding from pro-winders.

  18. This is what can happen when an operational industrial wind turbine is placed in a location that is monitored more than a few hours in a few days in a few months for only the first few years. Companies have a difficult time fixing mortality numbers at those sites.




    Read this document and tell me whether the S.O.S. new exactly what was going down, or did they have the wool blanket pulled over their heads as well. Because of Section 17 of the ESA, makes the purpose of the Act useless. I am sure that wasn’t the S.O.S. intentions however they need to be approached and asked that specific question for the record. Then they need to be asked as the whether or not they will be putting as much effort in the next election as the did in 2007 to have parts of section 17 removed i.e. social economic benefits, if they are not interested they need to be criticized for their actions as we all know where the S.O.S. gets a lot of their operating cash flow from.

    Other’s who are reading this post may not realize that the MNR will be using Section 17 of the Endangered Species Act 2007 to grant approval for all wind turbine facilities in Ontario, because the Ontario government needs to use something to do away with “thou shalt not kill part of the act” as we all know to well what Turbines do to Ontario’s wildlife so why is this in the Act? What really makes this interesting, refer to section 2 of the FWCA and ask your self, how is this happening?

  20. How many bats, humans, birds, wildlife are killed by coal power plants and the coal mining industry every year?

  21. You tell me, Eddie, and back it up with proof.

    That argument is completely irrelavant as wind is not a substitute for coal. It cannot replace coal because it needs fossil fuel backup at all times. Do a little reading.

    I’m really tired of these “drive-by” greenwashed posts. In the future perhaps I’ll just delete them.

  22. Yea, but at least tell him to look up “scrubbers”

    Totally understand the frustration though. I feel great today thanks to Randy, He gave us all some much needed comic relief. I’m doing my farm chores jumping up and down chanting ” Feckless Idiots” Hate to miss the day on this site but have an ultra sound appointment way over in Orillia.

  23. Eddie, so that’s the answer, lets set up some new conditions so we can kill even more, man does not get to pick and choose who stays on the planet and who gets to go. How about trying to fix what’s broke rather than trying to re-invent the wheel, coal plants can be made to be clean but there is “NO” long term monitory gain to be had by big business in this regard, they are more interested in infiltrating government and setting up conditions which will pay them lots of tax payers hard earned cash.

    Man has the knowledge to destroy the planet, I ask you Eddie does man have the knowledge to save the planet? Further I ask what has man really accomplished over the last hundred and fifty years? Zip or the answer is greed and kill everything in its path achieve this goal, to make more money than they can spend and for what?

    Look what is taking place state side, I suppose you thing that’s justifiable as well Eddie?

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