Sunday, September 6, 2009

High Fives For Low Lives

Life and death continues to roll on under the turbines. There's been a bit of a lull lately in bat fatalities (probably weather related), but still a few manage to hurl themselves into the blades. Migrant birds move through one of the ridges we work on, and I was stoked to get lifer Cape May Warblers this week. Not crippling looks, but I did feel mildly handicapped for a while afterwards. We still haven't found any dead birds since the end of July, which suits me just fine. If I was a bird, I wouldn't want to fling myself into a massive Blade Of Death that flies through the air at incredible speed either. I don't see why the bats are into it, but then again they have senses that we can't even begin to relate to. Can you imagine having echolocation? Walking around yelling at stuff in the dark and being able to not only see where you are going, but catching food for yourself? Try it sometime.....preferably with a lot of other people around. They might find it interesting.

Here's a few recent pictures from my office. Hope you had a positive weekend!

A Red Eft troglodytes its way across a road. This is the immature terrestrial life stage of Eastern Newt, they look pretty different otherwise.

An Eastern Red Bat that got sentenced to Death By Turbine.

I don't know what to make of this, except that it kicks ass.

A Silver-haired Bat sleeps peacefully. Just kidding, its dead!

A sunrise taken from the field site. Note the ridge in the photo has its own suite of turbines.


  1. It is strange you don't find birds.
    In Germany, wind turbines were found to be specifically targeted by foxes and wild boars at night who would eat anything they could find dead or dying on the ground. Might this be a possibility: birds getting eaten by scavangers at night that would somehow leave the bats?

  2. Predation on fatalities is certainly a big factor in the study; certain turbines are known to have a lot of scavenging going on (we put out bat and bird carcasses to check for this). There is even a fox den in the middle of one of our plots. But even if we are missing some birds due to scavenging, we should still find one once in a while, and I dont know think scavengers would be picky enough to select birds over bats. Earlier in the season there was a radar study going on at our field site, and they were able to watch (on a radar screen) birds go out of their way to avoid the turbines, whereas bats would go out of their way to go to them!

  3. Io moth caterpillar (another reason why the east is awesome - the Saturniids). They can give you a bit of sting - sort of stinging/numbing sensation.