Wind turbines, bats, birds: The Oregonian/OregonLive printed a graphic showing that far more birds were killed from colliding into windows than into wind turbines. While true, these numbers don’t tell the full story.
Wind turbines kill a disproportionate number of raptors, while songbirds are the primary victims of windows. Raptors play a valuable role in controlling rodents that damage crops and spread dangerous human diseases such as plague and hantavirus. Wind turbines are also responsible for the deaths of between 600,000 and 900,000 bats annually in the U.S. Bats control insects such as mosquitoes, again helping us avoid disease. Bats’ echolocation sense makes it nearly impossible for them to hit a window, but wind turbines create air pressure fluctuations that jam this sense.
Lumping all species together to score a political point isn’t good science, and doesn’t mean turbines are safe for either birds or bats.
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