An Updated Review of Hypotheses Regarding Bat Attraction to Wind Turbines

Emma Guest, Brittany Stamps, Nevin Durish, Amanda Hale, Cris Hein, Brogan Morton, Sara Weaver, Sarah Fritts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus Citations

Abstract

Patterns of bat activity and mortalities at wind energy facilities suggest that bats are attracted to wind turbines based on bat behavioral responses to wind turbines. For example, current monitoring efforts suggest that bat activity increases post-wind turbine construction, with bats making multiple passes near wind turbines. We separated the attraction hypothesis into five previously proposed explanations of bat interactions at or near wind turbines, including attraction based on noise, roost sites, foraging and water, mating behavior, and lights, and one new hypothesis regarding olfaction, and provide a state of the knowledge in 2022. Our review indicates that future research should prioritize attraction based on social behaviors, such as mating and scent-marking, as this aspect of the attraction hypothesis has many postulates and remains the most unclear. Relatively more data regarding attraction to wind turbines based on lighting and noise emission exist, and these data indicate that these are unlikely attractants. Analyzing attraction at the species-level should be prioritized because of differences in foraging, flight, and social behavior among bat species. Lastly, research assessing bat attraction at various scales, such as the turbine or facility scale, is lacking, which could provide important insights for both wind turbine siting decisions and bat mortality minimization strategies. Identifying the causes of bat interactions with wind turbines is critical for developing effective impact minimization strategies.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number343
Number of pages12
JournalAnimals
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-81164

Keywords

  • Attraction
  • Bats
  • Mortality
  • Turbines
  • Wind energy

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