Sciurus vulgaris The red squirrel © Laurie Campbell
New Scientist Article May 2006Noisy Windfarms send squirrels scurrying for cover
and the article mentions forthcoming research:
"Wind turbine noise may affect wildlife communities all over the world, the researchers write in a forthcoming issue of Biological Conservation. While not suggesting that wind farms should not be built, they say that more care needs to be taken over choosing where to site them, to minimise their impact."
© Laurie Campbell
CBC News 8th Sept "Why are wind turbines killing bats ?University of Calgary researchers are trying to understand why hundreds of bats are dying each year in Pincher Creek, inexplicably drawn to wind turbines.
Robert Barclay, a University of Calgary professor who heads up the bat study at the Summerview Wind Farm in Pincher Creek, Alta., believes bats may be attracted by the sound of turbines or simply don't use their sonar when they migrate.
Ecology student Erin Baerwald holds a hoary bat she found injured in a field.
"They can pick up minute little insects in the air when they're feeding, and these massive structures that the wind turbines present you would think would be no obstacle whatsoever," he said.
As part of the study, Erin Baerwald, an ecology student, hunts for dead and injured bats in Pincher Creek's turbine fields.
"Last year, more than 500 were found. This year, we're following a similar trend. And that's just this wind farm," Baerwald said.
The problem was first uncovered about three years ago when bats turned up dead at several wind farms in the United States. It is affecting two kinds of bats that migrate from Canada to the U.S. in the fall — hoary and silver-haired bats.
"Every bat I find, it keeps me going," she said. "Because what we are all working for here is to stop this."
Bats play a crucial role in the ecosystem. They eat their body weight in insects daily. Barclay says they're not endangered, but they reproduce very slowly.
"The population declines because of some disturbance or other factor. It is slow to recover, and that is a bit of a worry," Barclay said.
Industry looking for answers
The wind power industry is expected to grow tenfold in the next decade.
Wind energy companies say they're taking the bat problem seriously, paying for several studies, trying to figure out what to do.
"There has been lots of talk about whether it is possible to emit a certain sound or to change even the blade characteristics so that the bats' sonar works better," said Jason Edworthy, a spokesman with Vision Quest, the wind power division of TransAlta.
"Maybe a sound that makes the bats say, 'Oh, I don't want to go here.'"
Otters. © Laurie Campbell
© Laurie Campbell © Laurie Campbell
There are a number of old large badger setts in the area.
Meles meles © Laurie Campbell
Hares © Laurie CampbellStoat (Mustela Erminea)
Wood mouse © Laurie Campbell