Saturday, December 13, 2008

An uneasy alliance

I have been a long-time member of Co-op America, which is soon re-inventing itself as Green America. It's a great organization, but in their zeal for doing good they tend not to hear inconvenient truths such as the impact of turbines on wildlife. I took the opportunity to stop by their booth at the local Green Festival to do a little consciousness raising of my own.


Anonymous pro-wind said...

So, what are your green energy proposals? Are you against wind power?

Depending on fossil fuels, especially our over-reliance on coal in America, means bad news for ALL species, not just bats.

6:25 AM  
Blogger batgrrl said...

thanks for the feedback, pro-wind.
I am not against wind power, I think renewable energy forms are the right way to go. I just wish we understood more about why turbines are so deadly to bats and what we can do to mitigate that damage. Some early data shows for example that "feathering" the blades at low wind speeds (e.g. 4mph or less) will save lots of bats at very little cost. If we had lots of resources to study this, and cooperation from lots of wind power companies, we could resolve this fairly quickly. But there's just so little awareness of the situation, and it disappoints me to see people assuming they have to choose between alternative energy and wildlife.

10:36 AM  
Anonymous RKB said...

Thanks for this great blog. We're trying to find out more about wildlife in San Francisco city, and this has been really informative.

Do you have any information about bats and eucalyptus groves?

10:07 PM  
Blogger batgrrl said...

RKB, I haven't seen any work published about bats and eucalyptus outside of Australia (where the trees are native). In my own research, there was some evidence that bats foraged around eucalyptus trees. I tested for any relationship between bat foraging and native or non-native plants, which would have included trees, and there was no significant relationship either way. I would expect that eucalyptus trees would harbor fewer insects, because they have such a strong smell and are not native. However, the insects might not be actually in the trees but flying around in the wind shadow of the trees, where bats would prey on them. So, it's unclear to me what the relationship would be. Seems like a great opportunity for further research!

12:04 PM  

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