Maybe Bats Just Hit (or Get Hit by) Wind Turbines

Four years ago a science journal article was published saying that most of the bats found dead at an Alberta wind farm had no signs of external injuries, but their lungs were damaged. The verdict: barotrauma, damage caused by a sharp change in pressure. In humans the most common example is when you rupture an ear drum while on an airplane.

It was unexpected, it was weird, and it got plenty of coverage in the general media. (National Geographic News; Discover Magazine blog)

Now some Illinois scientists have published a paper in the journal Veterinary Pathology that says that damaged lungs can be an artifact of freezing specimens before examination, and that the bats they examined that were found dead at an Illinois wind farm showed every sign of plain old trauma. In fact, the paper says, the bats at the wind farm had more external injuries than the bats found dead in downtown Chicago that were assumed to have been killed by flying into buildings.

Read the article in Veterinary Pathology, here. (Fee or subscription required.)

Photo: Gray bat, courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service


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