Searching for wind turbine bat kills

Following the construction of a wind energy facility, the only way to determine the number of birds and bats killed by the facility is to search the ground beneath the turbines for lifeless carcasses. This video captures the ramblings of a woman hired by Forward Energy to search for dead animals.

The turbine facility was erected in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin and went online during the first quarter 2008. It's built adjacent to the Horicon Marsh wildlife refuge, the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the United States, renowned for its migrant flocks of Canada geese. The Horicon it is also home to more than 260 species of birds.

Due to its importance to wildlife, the Horicon Marsh has been designated a "Wetland of International Importance" and a "Globally Important Bird Area". Its significance as a wildlife area was not sufficient grounds to delay the wind project for further study.

Duration: 8 minutes 55 seconds

The video has been pulled by the owner, but the transcript can be read here:

"Good Morning.

It is now five am.

I'm going to show you what I've been doing lately that I haven't been on line. It's been awhile since I've been here, but I want to show you what I'm doing so you'll understand.

I don't know if you can hear the noise behind me but I am at..... I will show you... hold on a minute... we're going to go up, and we're going to go up, and we're going to go up, and you see those blades?

I am at the wind turbines.

There's one over there you can see a little better. And I am looking for dead birds and bats. And they've been finding bats lately. So we got some areas to walk and check for dead birds. And, let's go.

There's more wind turbines. More wind turbines. I'm checking the roads to see if there's any dead birds or bats. The sunrise is starting to come. Pretty.

But I get up at three thirty, every morning. Seven days a week. Get paid ten dollars an hour plus mileage. Let's look over here. Let's see if we can see those wind turbines over there. Just fields and fields of them.

So let's start looking. And if I find anything, I'll let you know.

There's a turbine I am checking. And what we have to do is, they have plowed or mowed areas for us to walk and we check both sides, and they go -- oh, four or five of them that we have to walk down and check for the birds. They have been finding a lot of bats. So that's what we're looking for.

Look at the sunrise. Beautiful. So peaceful out here in the morning.

Well we didn't find anything here, so we head to our next turbine. See you when we get there.

All right. We are at wind turbine 83. That last one we were at was 96. So we're going to check around here and see what we can find. And there's a lot more turbines up in this area so I can show you those.

They're going to build a hundred and thirty-six turbines...... the hill is just filled with them here....
there's one there, a whole field of them over there.

We're going to be looking in corn this time. Last time we were looking in soy. So let's head to the cornfields.

That turbine is pretty close to this one. Look at those blades. We're right under them. Yes, we're right in the middle of a corn field. This is sweet corn.
You can tell by tassels on top. They're whiter. Field corn is a darker brown. So this is sweet corn we're in. And you can hear the birds chirping.

And there's the wind turbine I'm checking right now.

I got to walk all the way down there. Actually at each turbine, you're walking six acres. Getting a lot of exercise.

There's my next turbine.

I know I look a mess. It's 95 percent humidity out there and right now it's 84 degrees. And with my hat on I was sweating up a storm. But I need to call Steve. He's a gentleman from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. And he's the one that hired me. They're doing a study for bats and birds by the wind turbines.

And we're also working with Forward Wind Project. And they're really nice guys.

OK I got a couple of more turbines to check-- and I'm going to say good-bye now and unless I find something I'll see you later. Buteverybody have a great day and we'll talk to all of you later. Bye.


Good morning everyone..... I'm out doing another search this morning, and I'm actually having a lot of fun. Getting a lot of exercise. Walking six acres each turbine, times five, it's 30 acres I'm walking. So I'm getting a lot of exercise and I'm enjoying it.

I got a bat yesterday but my camera battery was dead so, sorry, couldn't get it to you. But, um, the wind turbines do not hit the bats with the blades.
If you're squeamish, and don't like to hear things happening to animals, skip the next 30 seconds.

[She pauses]

What's happening to the bats is they are getting sucked in and their insides are imploding. So. Yeah.

They are not getting hit by the turbines, they are getting sucked in by them and their insides just explode... imploding. So that's what's happening to those bats.

I haven't found any regular birds yet, but when I do they'll check those out too. They'll autopsy those.

The gentleman I'm working for, Steve, is working on his masters at the University of Madison. And his roommate who he's living with now is also going to school for wildlife...... preservation.

And he's doing a study on bats, so he's the one who did the autopsies on the bats and told us what is happening, actually. He is not finding any blade marks on them.

They kind of figured that's what's happening, because of what's happening, they found out they are imploding when they did the autopsy.

Yeah. How weird.

They are just getting sucked in and the pressure is so much that that's what's happening.

So I am on my way to my next turbine, and if I do find anything today, I'll show you

MAR 2 2009
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