Writing a post-season report on bat monitoring has a slightly ghoulish feel, not because the little flying mammals are associated with Hallowe’en, but because many species are in danger of extinction. While the icon of climate alarmism, the polar bear, is in fact thriving (1) The nocturnal creatures are victims of catastrophic man-made global warming policies.(2)
The arrival of a fungus from Europe has given rise to a condition dubbed White Nose Syndrome (WNS) which is extirpating hibernating bat colonies as it advances across North America; yet while researchers are desperately trying to find ways of saving the affected species, wind developments are encroaching on their habitats with horrifying results. Bats are being killed by industrial wind turbines in what seems a gruesome way. Bats’ delicate bodies are subject to barotrauma from the blade pass vortices and die by the thousands every year (2)
The proliferation of un-reliables such as wind and solar power has done nothing to reduce CO2 emissions (3) , in some cases actually increasing them, while the unsustainable “green”energy subsidies, which have boosted the cost of electricity, have disproportionally disadvantaged the world’s poorest. Clearly governments which continue to support this folly, despite evidence of harm to the economy, the environment, and to the social fabric of human communities, do not have the best interests of the public in mind.
Though the wind industry claims to be good environmental stewards and corporate citizens, their responses to wind power’s costly externalities has been found wanting in many respects. From alliances with ENGOs, which turn out to be largely a co-opting of nature’s supposed defenders, to the specious argument that endangered bats will be extinct soon, so killing a few more won’t matter, they appear unwilling to forego their activities altogether and give bats a real chance of survival, should a remedy for WNS be found.
“There are no bats”, is part of the wind industry’s vernacular; the phrase is so often repeated it is like a mind-control tactic to demoralize those who resist the industrialization of rural landscapes. Unless there are individuals with firsthand knowledge of active bat roosts (4) in proximity to industrial wind developments what can people do to counter it?
Locally there have been claims that there are no bats in the vicinity of the Bow Lake wind turbines, which seemed impossible to bat rescuers at BayNiche Conservancy who finally hit upon Wildlife Acoustics’ (5) Echometer Touch as an affordable way to demonstrate species presence and relative abundance.
Despite the challenges of distance, weather, and wildlife, four sites were monitored for comparison, three within the Bow Lake project and one outside, all similarly adjacent to water, roads and forest. Preliminary analysis shows endangered species of bats were present within the industrial wind development with fewer bat recordings there per hour compared to the external control site situated some distance outside the project area. The experience has identified a need not only for more robust equipment, but also simply for more equipment so that simultaneous monitoring at multiple sites and more data over longer periods can be collected.
One area camp owner was happy to hear he still had bats in close proximity and even more delighted when he then discovered some roosting under a decorative sign board affixed to the sunny side of his shed. He plans to install a bat house on that wall for next spring.
Shutting down the economically, societally and environmentally destructive wind power generators would be a small price to give our insect-eating bats a better chance for survival; after all, the odious “green” energy contracts already have us paying for surplus wind power and increasingly we make “constraint” payments, that is we pay suppliers not to produce. We have all become victims of catastrophic government policies (7)
( If you would like to participate in bat walks and talks or otherwise support this citizen science bat monitoring effort please contact action at lsarc.ca)