New research shows relatively few bird and bat deaths from wind turbines

Posted on November 16, 2011. Filed under: Wind | Tags: |

From a news release issued by Great Lakes Wind Collaborative:

New research shows relatively few bird and bat deaths from wind turbines

Mortality rates for birds flying into the turbines of Great Lakes wind farms vary, but are generally low, according to a recently completed analysis of wind energy impacts on birds, bats, fisheries and wildlife.

The report by the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative (GLWC) reviewed data from a number of wind turbine sites in the Great Lakes region and found mortality rates for songbirds ranging from 2.5 bird deaths per year per turbine at an Ontario, Canada site to 11.8 at a Wisconsin site. Additional research on raptors and waterfowl found them to be less prone to turbine collisions than songbirds, while bat mortality was very similar to songbirds, ranging from two to 11 bat deaths a year per turbine.

The report, State of the Science: An Assessment of Research on the Ecological Impacts of Wind Energy in the Great Lakes Region, was compiled from research presented at a GLWC-sponsored workshop. Wind turbine impacts on wildlife, particularly birds and bats, have figured prominently in the public discussion of wind energy and the siting of wind farms. While the information collected for the new report adds to the science of wind energy impacts, the report also identified several data gaps to be filled. Impacts of offshore wind turbines in the Great Lakes, for instance, can only be theorized as there are no offshore wind farms in the Lakes as yet.

“This compilation of the current state of knowledge is intended to give a head start to all parties dealing with these issues, and to help them make well-informed decisions in the real world,” said Steve Ugoretz, past co-chair of the GLWC Siting and Planning Workgroup.

Priorities for research going forward, as laid out by the report, include more data on the effects of wind farms on migratory corridors, establishment of ecologically defensible mortality thresholds and setbacks, and research on potential impacts from artificial reef habitat creation for offshore installations.

As more data on wind energy impacts is accumulated, according to the report, the policy issues that will emerge include such questions as: What are acceptable levels of mortality caused by a wind turbine for a particular species, and what are appropriate buffers from important ecological areas?

Said Jeff Gosse, Hydro & Wind Power Coordinator of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and co-chair of the GLWC Siting and Planning Workgroup, “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service supports the development of renewable energy, including wind power. Our objective is to ensure that such development is ecologically sustainable, with minimal impact to wildlife resources such as birds and bats, and in the case of offshore development, fish. This report is a critical milestone toward achieving that objective in the Great Lakes Region.”

The full report is available at the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative web site.

Contact: Becky Pearson, 734-971-9135,


The Great Lakes Wind Collaborative is a multi-sector coalition of wind energy stakeholders working to facilitate the sustainable development of wind power in the binational Great Lakes region. For more information on the Collaborative, visit


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One Response to “New research shows relatively few bird and bat deaths from wind turbines”

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Why doesn’t anybody think of the children???
Every time I toss my newborn up to the rotating blades, he gets hurt!
Can’t anybody stop that???

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