Unprecedented numbers of migratory bats are found dead beneath industrial-scale wind turbines during late summer and autumn in both North America and Europe. Prior to the wide-scale deployment of wind turbines, fatal collisions of migratory bats with anthropogenic structures were rarely reported and likely occurred very infrequently.
There are no other well-documented threats to populations of migratory tree bats that cause mortality of similar magnitude to that observed at wind turbines. Just three migratory species comprise the vast majority of bat kills at turbines in North America and there are indications that turbines may actually attract migrating individuals toward their blades. Although fatality of certain migratory species is consistent in occurrence across large geographic regions, fatality rates differ across sites for reasons mostly unknown. Cumulative fatality for turbines in North America might already range into the hundreds of thousands of bats per year. Research into the causes of bat fatalities at
wind turbines can ascertain the scale of the problem and help identify solutions.
None of the migratory bats known to be most affected by wind turbines are protected by conservation laws, nor is there a legal mandate driving research into the problem or implementation of potential solutions.