The query asked for information held by the agency about the number of animals killed by wind turbines and the species being blended by the blades.
According to ECCC, the ministry is aware of the highly negative effects wind energy has on avian populations across Canada, including several species of bats listed as endangered.
A paper Zimmerling et al., 2013, studied the impact of wind turbines on birds. They estimated an average of 8.2 birds were killed per turbine per year after correcting for the number of carcasses that would be missed by searchers. Based on 2,955 turbines installed by the end of 2011, they estimated 23,300 birds killed per year across Canada.
Based on data from the Canadian Wind Energy Association, CANWEA, website, by the end of 2022, the installed wind capacity in Canada had increased to about 15,000 megawatts. Assuming average wind turbines are now 2-3 megawatts, this corresponds to about 5,000-7,500 turbines. Thus, if mortality rates remain similar, the number of birds killed would now be estimated at about 62,000 per year. This number is much lower than the number of birds estimated by Calvert et al., 2013, to be killed by other human-related sources such as 200 million birds per year by domestic and feral cats, 25 million birds per year by power transmission lines, 22 million birds per year by collisions with windows in residential houses and 14 million birds per year by collisions with vehicles.
Zimmerling et al., 2013, also reported data on the species composition of birds killed at wind turbines in Canada, based on available data from carcass searches. The most frequently reported species were Horned Lark, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Red-eyed Vireo, European Starling, and Tree Swallow all of which are abundant species in Canada.
There was no evidence that mortality rates for any species were high enough to cause population-level impacts.
A separate study estimated the impact of wind turbines in Canada on bats. They estimated an average of 15.5 bats killed per turbine representing about 47,000 bats per year in 2013. If mortality rates remain similar now, that would now represent 75,000-116,000 bats per year based on an estimate of 5,000-7,500 turbines. Most of this mortality occurred for only four species: Hoary Bat, 34%, Silver-haired Bat, 25%, Eastern Red Bat, 15%, and Little Brown Myotis, 13%. There is growing evidence that mortality rates of bats due to wind turbines may be high enough to be causing population declines. Davy et al., 2020, found evidence of declines in populations of some migratory bat species in Ontario.
The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, COSEWIC, recently recommended that Hoary Bat, Red Bat and Silver-haired Bat should all be listed as endangered under the Species at Risk Act. The reason for designation indicated that populations were declining by more than 50% over three generations, with the major threat of high mortality risk at wind energy facilities.
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