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The aversive effect of electromagnetic radiation on foraging bats: a possible means of discouraging bats from approaching wind turbines

The aversive effect of electromagnetic radiation on foraging bats: a possible means of discouraging bats from approaching wind turbines

Plos one 4(7): E6246

Large numbers of bats are killed by collisions with wind turbines and there is at present no accepted method of reducing or preventing this mortality. Following our demonstration that bat activity is reduced in the vicinity of large air traffic control and weather radars, we tested the hypothesis that an electromagnetic signal from a small portable radar can act as a deterrent to foraging bats. From June to September 2007 bat activity was compared at 20 foraging sites in northeast Scotland during experimental trials (radar switched on) and control trials (no radar signal). Starting 45 minutes after sunset, bat activity was recorded for a period of 30 minutes during each trial and the order of trials were alternated between nights. From July to September 2008 aerial insects at 16 of these sites were sampled using two miniature light-suction traps. At each site one of the traps was exposed to a radar signal and the other functioned as a control. Bat activity and foraging effort per unit time were significantly reduced during experimental trials when the radar antenna was fixed to produce a unidirectional signal therefore maximising exposure of foraging bats to the radar beam. However, although bat activity was significantly reduced during such trials, the radar had no significant effect on the abundance of insects captured by the traps.

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Accession: 056247274

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PMID: 19606214

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