Friday, July 1, 2011

Study: Wind Turbines Kill Bats

A recent study confirms the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s fears that wind turbines kill a significant amount of bats every year.

Game Commission Wildlife Biologist Tracey Librandi Mumma says the turbines kill more than 10,000 bats and about 1,700 birds each year.

While songbirds are dying by colliding with the windmills, Librandi Mumma says the bats, mostly the high-flying migratory species, are dying in a different way.

“A lot of the bats that we’re finding underneath turbines have no visible lacerations, broken bones, anything like that,” says Librandi Mumma. “They’re actually dying of barrow trauma, which I equate to getting ‘the bends’ when you scuba-dive, when you come up too fast. There’s a pressure difference when the blades are moving on a wind turbine, and that pressure difference is causing the bats’ lungs to explode.”

She says most energy companies with turbines in the state are now voluntarily seeking input from the Game Commission, to better decide where to place them.

Librandi Mumma says it's possible turbines will be equipped to emit high-frequency sounds that would deter bats from coming near them.

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