Study investigates cause of bat deaths at wind farms

Wind turbines are associated with the deaths of increasingly high numbers of migrating bats, with some wind farms estimating tens of thousands of bat deaths annually. The widely-held assumption was that the turbines kill bats by generating rapid changes in air pressure in the animal’s lungs – an effect known as “barotrauma” – as they enter the low-pressure field generated by the turning blades.

However, a research team at Illinois State University, which included University of Iowa  scientist David Meyerholz, used forensic pathology to determine the exact cause of bat deaths at wind farms.

The team’s study suggests that barotrauma might not be responsible – but rather that the bats are actually colliding with the active turbine blades.

“This study raises some serious questions about the foundation of barotrauma theory in wind farm bats and simultaneously demonstrates by multiple lines of evidence that the collision theory is the basis for most of these deaths,” said University of Iowa scientist David Meyerholz.

For more information, read the full University of Iowa news release.

One thought on “Study investigates cause of bat deaths at wind farms

  1. I can remember seeing so many bats flying in the night sky they looked like mosquitos… which insects the bats ate up with relish! So many people were always afraid of bats flying around low over them, I always regarded bats with friendly terms as they were doing their jobs of eliminating mosquitos and gnats! And I always detested the kites for dive-bombing to predate on the bats and I would wave my arms to defend the lower-flying bats if I could, not often successful on my part as the bats themselves were scared by my actions and would just fly higher where the kites could get to them. I know of one man in the condemned Clock Tower neighborhood of Cedar Rapids along the Cedar River who has bat houses set up all around his house!

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