Of Wyoming’s 15 resident bat species, three of them are most susceptible to the deadly effects of wind turbines: the hoary bat, the silver-haired bat and the eastern red bat.

They are Wyoming’s only tree-roosting bats, said Douglas Keinath, senior zoologist with the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database.

Because they roost in trees, they can’t protect themselves from the winter cold and wind. This means they are also Wyoming’s only migratory bats.

All other bats hibernate, often in caves or mines where they are protected from the elements.

During migration bats seem to suffer most from barotrauma, when changes in pressure near spinning wind turbine blades explodes the capillaries on the edges of bats’ lungs. The lungs fill with fluid, and the bats drown, Keinath said.

Hoary, silver-haired and eastern red bats are very light. The hoary, the largest of the three, usually weighs less than one ounce. A robin weighs three times as much even though its wing span is the same size.

The three species also have the most fur of any Wyoming bats. In cool climates, their furry wings wrap around their bodies like sleeping bags, Keinath said.

Here is the breakdown on Wyoming’s only migratory bats, and those most at risk to die of barotrauma.

* Hoary bat: Wyoming’s largest bat, its wingspan is more than a foot long. It survives mostly on moths but will also eat large beetles and grasshoppers. Hoary bats roost in conifer trees, often at the edges of clearing. “The bat’s size, shape and coloration mimic pine cones,” Keinath said.

They are strong fliers and are the most widespread of any American bat. They are also the only bat native to Hawaii. Experts believe the hoary bat flew there from mainland North America.

* Eastern red bat: This small to medium-size bat lives mostly on moths, beetles and mosquitoes. Its wing span is between 11 and 13 inches and it weighs about as much as two nickels. It roosts in leaves of trees and hangs from one foot. “Their size, shape, and red coloration mimic a dead leaf,” Keinath said.

* Silver-haired bat: Slightly smaller than the red bat, the silver-haired bat eats small insects such as mosquitoes, flying ants and small moths. Even though it’s North America’s slowest-flying bat, it is still a strong flier and can migrate long distances. It sleeps in loose bark or cavities of trees.

Reach Open Spaces reporter Christine Peterson at 307-746-3121 or christine.peterson@trib.com. Follow her on Twitter

(4) comments


I love when environmental extremists fight each other! Ah, I remember the days we were taught the earth was entering a global ice age (in the 70s. Whereas in the 50s, we were taught of the terrible global warming, shown movies of icebergs melting, etc.)

Shortly thereafter, we were told that paper grocery bags were the bane of human existence, and the world's forests couldn't handle continued use of paper bags. Soon, the environmental extremists were championing the plastic bags which saved trees, reduced landfill mass, and were MUCH stronger too!

Thousands of other environmental views have been proven wrong over the years, and yet we continue to come back to the clean energy crowd going up against the animal rights folks. Ah, to watch the intricate dances of environmental extremist factions creating/counter-creating arguments which teach us why THEIR special interest is so much more valid than the other environmental extremist's special interest. It's as mesmerizing as watching cuttlefish changing colors.

I'm so glad they are superior in intellect to the rest of us!


i dont know about you but dead bats laying around a wind terbine kinda tells me there is something wrong, these kinds of wind terbines have been outlawed across the world this is why they are selling hen to the hicks in wyoming who run our local boards. they dont read anything but the stock markets page of a paper. or the CREG report, i for one know if they ever try to put anymore of those mostrocities up here in natrona county we would have an army of people up their behinds to put a stop to it. I dont know why converse county agreed ecept someone or someones must be getting a kick back from it somehow to get it passed. like our bocc did. some got good jobs in the energy field from it and some get money each month on promoting it. think about it like this, if there were not a single free grant or substudy for this killing our birds,bats and llarge open spaces would they even be here? i dont think so.


All wind farms have a mortality footprint that far exceeds their boundaries and these turbines are known to slaughter every species that can fly. Below are two notable examples of the cumulative impacts from wind turbines ........................

At the 580 MW Altamont Pass, studies have shown that wind turbines kill golden eagles at rate of 0.13 – 0.2 per MW per year Smallwood and Thelander 2004 Chapter 3 Table 3-11.). This equals 75-116 eagles being smashed out of the skies over Altamont each year. Wind turbine strikes were also shown to be the number one cause of eagle mortality.

What the public does not understand is that Altamont Pass is not unique because at every wind farm located in eagle habitat, there are the same deadly combination of circumstances, wind currents, prey species, soaring eagles, and huge blades ripping through the air hundreds of feet up. Golden eagles forage over hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles.

The industry is well aware of this and that is why a disastrous population decline for the golden eagle has not been disclosed and cumulative impact studies for this species have been avoided. Now solid evidence has been uncovered of a population decline in the 80-90% range covering 20-25% of California. In recent years there have been several surveys conducted in over 3500 square miles of eagle habitat in Southern CA. Most of the habitat has been abandoned. In one area 12 nests were found but no eagles. In another 1500 square mile area, 34 nests were found and 33 were empty.

In California the wind industry has been slaughtering the golden eagle for 30 years.

In the Spring of 2006 there were 214 free flying whooping cranes. In the spring of 2012 only 192 were counted in their winter habitat before migrating north. It was also known that several others were living outside the survey area. Over this period of time, 228 whooping cranes have fledged from their nests and were added to the population. Yet the population has still declined. As of today, approximately 250 of the Aransas-Wood buffalo Whooping cranes have died since 2006 and almost all are unaccounted for.

For decades prior to 2006 whooping crane numbers had increased at about 4 percent per year. But since 2006 the average mortality for this period has been about 41 cranes or close to 20 percent per year. Most importantly has been NO NET
GAIN in this highly endangered species. We are going to lose this free flying population to the wind industry

Since 2006 thousands of wind turbines have been installed in the 2500 mile migration corridor they must use each year. to and from Canada.

There are two primary reasons for these declines 1) wind farm mortality, with a far reaching deadly footprint and 2) The two-faced USFWS, which has in place meaningless "voluntary guidelines” for the wind industry.


The wind industry and their so called hired experts, routinely manipulate studies for a desired outcome. Because of their bogus studies, the reported death toll from wind turbines is far greater than what is being reported. Here is perfect example. At the Criterion Wind Project in Maryland, Post-Construction mortality monitoring studies were conducted.
Here is a description of Methodology used from the study............ "The monitoring study period was from April 5 to November 15, 2011. Search plots were established around all 28 turbines in the project and the carcass search schedule was for daily searches at all turbines (weather and safety permitting). Search plot size varied in shape and size, due to habitat constraints, but in most cases areas up to approximately 40-50 m (~130-165 ft) from the turbines were cleared of vegetation for access and construction purposes and this area was used as the search plot. Parallel transects were spaced and delineated approximately 5 m (~16 ft) apart within the search plot and surveyors systematically walked the transects while scanning the ground for fatalities or injured birds or bats."
All this looks impressive but it is nothing but a snow job. The cleared search plots were only the size of search plots originally used on the small turbines at Altamont which averaged 50 meters from the turbines. By comparison a 65kw turbine has a rotor sweep 38 times smaller and much slower blade tip speeds which result in greatly reduced body impact distances. The small turbines with 22 ft blades reach about 80 feet into the air. By comparison the Liberty 2.5 MW Wind Turbines installed at the Criterion project are 400 or
more feet tall and have 150 ft blades that reach out further than the mortality search plots. A proper search area of 200 meters out from each turbine, checked daily with trained dogs, would have found many times more fatalities.Also larger birds that do not die immediately can travel hundreds or thousands of meters. Others upon impact travel like a baseball far outside study areas. This is especially true for new generation wind turbines that reach 400 feet into the air. Based on the flawed methodology used, the true death rate is far greater and likely to be at least 3-4 times what was reported.
Similar meaningless studies like this one, were created by the wind industry so they could proclaim to the world that their new behemoth turbines were safer.

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