NO Residential Wind North Kingstown

A coalition of concerned citizens in opposition to industrial size wind turbines in North Kingstown, Rhode Island

American Bird Conservancy Vice-President Mike Parr said in a press release on February 11, 2011 “Bird deaths from wind power are the new inconvenient truth. The total number of birds killed and the amount of bird habitat lost will dramatically increase as wind power build-out continues across the country in a rush to meet federal renewable energy targets.” He goes on to say, “We fast-tracked dams in the first half of the last century at the expense of America’s rivers. Now we’re having to tear many of them down. Let’s not fast track wind energy at the expense of America’s birds. Just a few small changes need to be made to make wind bird-smart, but without these, wind power simply can’t be considered a green technology.”

Federal government estimates indicate that 22,000 wind turbines in operation in 2009 were killing 440,000 birds per year. If the US Government continues plans to produce 20 percent of the nation’s electricity from wind by 2030, those numbers will mushroom. To meet the 2030 goal, the nation will need to produce about 12 times more wind energy than in 2009. The resulting effect would be catastrophic.

American Bird Conservancy Press Release

More Information
Wind turbines taking toll on birds of prey:

Windmills Are Killing Our Birds:

"Exploding lungs"??  Sounds extreme, right?  It actually is a fact sadly to say.  Studies have proven that this is the main reason bats die in large numbers around wind turbines.

Why does this happen? The moving blades cause a drop in air pressure that makes the delicate lungs of bats suddenly expand, bursting the tissue's blood vessels. The bat experiences a similar effect a scuba diver would have if they held their breath on the way to the surface of the water. The lungs pop like a balloon due to the sudden change in air pressure. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., asked the Government Accountability Office to study the effects more windmills would have in the Appalachian Mountains. Research found that existing turbines killed up to 4,000 bats on Backbone Mountain alone last year. Several studies have suggested that the wind turbine risk to bats is greater to that of birds.  In May 2007, the US National Research Council published the results of a survey of US wind farms showing that two bat species accounted for 60% of winged animals killed.

The research council thought the high-frequency noise from the turbines' gears and blades could be disrupting the bats' echolocation systems. Bats are basically blind and move throughout the sky by echolocation, chasing prey through natural sonar waves made by movement, similar to submarines.

"While searching for bat carcasses under wind turbines, we noticed that many of the carcasses had no external injuries or no visible cause of death," says Erin Baerwald of the University of Calgary in Canada.  Baerwald and colleagues collected 188 dead bats from wind farms across southern Alberta, and determined their cause of death. They found that 90% of the bats had signs of internal haemorrhaging, but only half showed any signs of direct contact with the windmill blades. Only 8% had signs of external injuries but no internal injuries.

The movement of wind-turbine blades creates a vortex of lower air pressure around the blade tips similar to the vortex at the tip of airplane wings. Others have suggested that this could be lethal to bats, but until now no-one had carried out necropsies to verify the theory.

Baerwald and her colleagues believe that birds do not suffer the same fate as bats - the majority of birds are killed by direct contact with the blades - because their lungs are more rigid than those of bats and therefore more resistant to sudden changes in pressure.

Bats eat nocturnal insects including agricultural pests, so if wind turbines affected their population levels, this could affect the rest of the local ecosystems. And the effects could even be international. "The species being killed are migrants," says Baerwald. "If bats are killed in Canada that could have consequences for ecosystems as far away as Mexico.

More Information:
Wind Turbines Kill Bats Without Impact:

Wind Turbines Make Bats Lungs Explode:

Why Wind Turbines Can Mean Death For Bats:

Bats are not loved as much as the family dog.  However, they play a very critical role in the eco-system.

Some Important Bat Facts:

  • Nearly 1,100 kinds of bats account for almost a quarter of all mammal species, and most are highly beneficial.A single little brown bat can catch 1,200 mosquito-sized insects in just one hour.
  • A colony of 150 big brown bats can protect local farmers from up to 33 million or more rootworms each summer.
  • The 20 million Mexican free-tails from Bracken Cave, Texas, eat approximately 200 tons of insects nightly.
  • Tropical bats are key elements in rain forest ecosystems, which rely on them to pollinate flowers and disperse seeds for countless trees and shrubs.
  • In the wild, important agricultural plants, from bananas, breadfruit, and mangoes to cashews, dates, figs, rely on bats for pollination and seed dispersal.
  • Bat are exceptionally vulnerable to extinction, in part because they are the slowest reproducing mammals on earth for their size. Most produce only one young a year.
  • More than half of American bat species are in severe decline or are already listed as endangered. Losses are occurring at alarming rates worldwide.
  • Loss of bats increases demand for chemical pesticides, can jeopardize whole ecosystems of other animal and plant species, and can harm human economies.
Wind Turbines & Birds
New Scientist Report on Wind Turbines & Bats