Causes of bat fatalities at wind turbines: Hypotheses and predictions

Product Type: 

Journal Article

Year: 

2009

Author(s): 

Cryan, P.M. and R.M.R. Barclay

Suggested Citation: 

Cryan, P.M. and R.M.R. Barclay. 2009. Causes of bat fatalities at wind turbines: Hypotheses and predictions. Journal of Mammalogy. 90(6): 1330-1340.

Thousands of industrial-scale wind turbines are being built across the world each year to meet the growing demand for sustainable energy. Bats of certain species are dying at wind turbines in unprecedented numbers. Species of bats consistently affected by turbines tend to be those that rely on trees as roosts and most migrate long distances. Although considerable progress has been made in recent years toward better understanding the problem, the causes of bat fatalities at turbines remain unclear. In this synthesis, we review hypothesized causes of bat fatalities at turbines. Hypotheses of cause fall into 2 general categories—proximate and ultimate. Proximate causes explain the direct means by which bats die at turbines and include collision with towers and rotating blades, and barotrauma. Ultimate causes explain why bats come close to turbines and include 3 general types: random collisions, coincidental collisions, and collisions that result from attraction of bats to turbines...