Bats at Greatest Risk from Turbines in Illinois

Bats are much more likely than birds to be killed or injured by wind turbines in Illinois, according to state data.

“About 22,000 bats a year are killed by wind turbines,” said Keith Shank, who tracks wind turbine collisions and endangered species for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Shank said bats killed by wind turbines typically are not the same species affected by white-nose syndrome, a fungus that has killed millions of bats nationwide since first reported in New York in 2006.

In contrast, three bird deaths and one injury followed by recovery have been reported as a result of wind turbine collisions in Illinois since 2007.

Shank said about half of the state’s wind farm operators file voluntary reports on wildlife collisions with turbines. But he said that combined with operator reports and state analysis, bird deaths are thought to average about one per turbine per year.

There are approximately 2,400 turbines operating in Illinois.

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