Prairie Post, by Stephanie Labbe
It has been estimated thousands of bats have been killed due to wind farms each year in southern Alberta alone. Dr. Robert M.R Barclay, a professor and department head of the department of Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary, says bats are mainly being killed when they get hit by the turbine blades that are moving.
“Those blades are moving fast (about 200 km per hour at the tips). Some bats are killed when they get close to the blades and fly through a zone of low air pressure. This causes the air in their lungs to expand rapidly causing internal damage, much in the way that a scuba diver who comes up too fast experiences problems,” says Dr. Barclay in an e-mail interview.
“At another level, we don’t really know yet why the bats are so close to the turbines. Most of the bats killed are migrating south for the winter and we see all across North America, a large peak in fatalities in late summer and early fall. In Alberta, this involves two main species, the silver-haired bat and the hoary bat. These spend their days in trees. So some scientists hypothesize that the bats see wind turbines as giant trees that may provide suitable roosts for the day, and the bats thus approach them. Others suggest that insects are attracted to the turbines and bats, which in Canada eat nothing but insects, are attracted to the swarms of insects. Yet another suggestion is that the migrating bats mate during their southward migration and to find each other, males and females congregate at tall trees.” Read article