windfarms and bats

To: "'Birding-Aus'" <>
Subject: windfarms and bats
From: "Stephen Ambrose" <>
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 2010 11:19:04 +1100
Hi Keith,

Yes, this impact on bats (known as barotraumas) has been known for a couple
of years. I've pasted below an abstract of a scientific paper that documents
this phenomenon.


Stephen Ambrose
Ambrose Ecological Services Pty Ltd
Ryde, NSW

Barotrauma is a significant cause of bat fatalities at wind turbines
Erin F. Baerwald , Genevieve H. D'Amours, Brandon J. Klug and Robert M.R.

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB Canada
T2N 1N4

Current Biology. Volume 18(16), August 2008: R695-R696


Bird fatalities at some wind energy facilities around the world have been
documented for decades, but the issue of bat fatalities at such facilities
primarily involving migratory species during autumn migration  has been
raised relatively recently [1,2]. Given that echolocating bats detect moving
objects better than stationary ones [3], their relatively high fatality rate
is perplexing, and numerous explanations have been proposed [1]. The
decompression hypothesis proposes that bats are killed by barotrauma caused
by rapid air-pressure reduction near moving turbine blades [1,4,5].
Barotrauma involves tissue damage to air-containing structures caused by
rapid or excessive pressure change; pulmonary barotrauma is lung damage due
to expansion of air in the lungs that is not accommodated by exhalation. We
report here the first evidence that barotrauma is the cause of death in a
high proportion of bats found at wind energy facilities. We found that 90%
of bat fatalities involved internal haemorrhaging consistent with
barotrauma, and that direct contact with turbine blades only accounted for
about half of the fatalities. Air pressure change at turbine blades is an
undetectable hazard and helps explain high bat fatality rates. We suggest
that one reason why there are fewer bird than bat fatalities is that the
unique respiratory anatomy of birds is less susceptible to barotrauma than
that of mammals.

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Keith Brandwood
Sent: Wednesday, 1 December 2010 10:50 AM
To: birdingaus
Subject: windfarms and bats

Hi everyone, on the PBS news hour yesterday which for those of you who don't
know is USA based news program featured daily at16-30 hrs on SBS 1 there was
a segment on Windfarms in Oregon. The disastrous news was that thousands of
small bats were being killed by the wind turbines.Death was caused not only
by the blades hitting the bats but the differential in air pressure caused
by the turbines caused blood vessels in the bats to rupture.Not very green
energy after all.  
the beautiful Hawkesbury 60km N/W of Sydney
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