‘Green’ Carnage Study: In 2019 US Wind Turbines Killed 3.7 Million Bats – And This Is A Gross Underestimate

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Due to the expansion of wind energy projects in the United States in the last decade, a conservative estimate for yearly bat fatalities from wind turbines ranges between 1.7 to 3.7 million. A new study suggests death numbers may be 4 to 7 times higher due to carcass search deficiencies.

It is estimated that North American migratory bat populations will decline by 90% over the next 50 years due to the expanding presence of wind turbines (Frick et al., 2017). As of 2015, about 25% of North American bat species were already considered vulnerable or endangered (Hammerson et al., 2017).

Image Source: Frick et al., 2017 and Hammerson et al., 2017

A harrowing new study suggests researchers may be vastly underestimating wind turbine bat fatalities due to biased-low carcass detection practices.

Smallwood and Bell (2020) report that dogs perform far better than humans at locating bat carcasses, but even dogs miss 3 out of every 4 bats observed colliding with wind turbines. This is because a) injured bats may temporarily recover enough to fly 10s of meters away from the collision site, and b) because scavengers can quickly collect the freshly dead or injured bats before dogs (and humans) can recover them.

Consequently, the 1.7 to 3.7 million bats killed by U.S. wind turbines each year (2019) may be a vast underestimate. Smallwood and Bell suggest the real death numbers are likely 4 to 7 times higher than that.

At this rate, the extinction clock for North American bats may not be 50 years off, but only a decade or two away.

Image Source: Smallwood and Bell, 2020
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16 responses to “‘Green’ Carnage Study: In 2019 US Wind Turbines Killed 3.7 Million Bats – And This Is A Gross Underestimate”

  1. Stephen Richards

    It’s not a gros underestimate. How can it be. It’s making a guess and saying that your gusess isn’t good enough. It’s a ridiculous statement . Having lived with bats for many years I’m not inclined to be concerned about their demise. However, if these mincers are killing bats then they are also killing many more important species of flying creatures and that is very very wrong.

    Add to their destruction of the birds their destruction of the landscape, the terrain and general environment and you have a bleak future for our children and grand children.

    The greens will never be forgiven when it all comes to light via the non MSM.

    1. Romeo R

      I live in Phoenix and every evening I can go outside and sit on my patio with the misters on and watch the bats flying around and eating up all the flying insects. To me, they are a vital part of our ecosystem and should be viewed as vital just like any other form of flying, crawling, walking or swimming creature.
      But to your point, windmills are highly destructive and cause way more harm than the experts lead us to believe. I hate seeing them pop up all over our wildlands here out west. They are a blight on our countryside.

  2. Steve

    This whole nonsense about global warming is driving me batshit !

    1. Josh

      Same here. I wish that the hysteria would go away.

  3. John F. Hultquist

    Are any of the big international organizations of the environmental type aware of bats?
    We have not renewed subscriptions to magazines of that sort, starting about 10 years ago. There was too much pontificating.
    If bats are on the radar of any such groups, we would not know.

    1. Henning Nielsen

      Polar bears are nice and cuddly and must be saved from manmade co2 emissons. Bats are just scary, ugly, virus-carrying beasts, so who cares? / sarcoff

      1. Yonason
  4. Henning Nielsen

    Turbine-slaughter of bats is totally “Bats in the belfry”.

  5. David Appell

    Since when did you people start caring about birds?

    Fu*king hypocrites, every last one of you.

    1. Yonason

      We aren’t hypocrites, but assuming we were, why would Mr. Appel think that that would make it OK to massacre endangered birds (raptors)? Notice that he didn’t even mention bats, the main topic of the post.

      And if he also thinks that it’s not OK, then what’s the point of attacking us on something we presumably agree on?

      Leftists make no sense, are always angry, and are rarely if ever correct about anything important.

      1. Yonason

        P.S. – I wonder when David Appell stopped caring about humans? …or if he ever did in the first place?

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