Wind Turbines Kill Too Many Birds and Bats

By Katarina Zimmer on January 2, 2024 for Knowable Magazine

About twice a month, many of Australia’s wind farms receive an important visit from dogs and their handlers. The dogs are professionals and know exactly what they’re there for. Eagerly, they run along transects under the wind turbines, sniffing until they catch a scent, then lying down, sitting or freezing once they’ve located their targets: the carcasses of bats and birds that were killed by turbine collisions.


For nearly two decades, wind and wildlife ecologist Emma Bennett’s company, Elmoby Ecology, has been using canines to count the victims of wind turbines in southern Australia. The numbers are troubling. Each turbine yields four to six bird carcasses per year, part of an overall death toll from wind turbines that likely tops 10,000 annually for the whole of Australia (not including carcasses carried away by scavengers). Such deaths are in the hundreds of thousands in North America [studies show as many as 1.17 million birds are killed by wind turbines in the United States alone each year — a number that will only increase with the rapid spread of massive wind farms.1 While that’s far less than deaths by cats, vehicles, communication towers, etc. what is notable and concerning is that it is large migratory species that are being affected.]

Far worse are the numbers of dead bats: The dogs find between six and 20 of these per turbine annually, with tens of thousands believed to die each year in Australia. In North America, the number is close to a million.2

In fact, some experts predict that turbine collisions could drive certain bat species to extinction. ​“It’s the No. 1 threat facing our small microbats,” Bennett says.

Read the full article here.

  2. cf. Bat Apocalypse[]
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