We examined bat collision mortality, activity and species composition at an 89-turbine wind resource area in farmland of north-central Iowa from mid-Apr. to mid-Dec., 2003 and mid-Mar. to mid-Dec., 2004. We found 30 bats beneath turbines on cleared ground and gravel access areas in 2003 and 45 bats in 2004. After adjusting for search probability, search efficiency and scavenging rate, we estimated total bat mortality at 396 ± 72 (95% ci) in 2003 and 636 ± 112 (95% ci) in 2004. Although carcasses were mostly migratory tree bats, we found a considerable proportion of little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus). We recorded 1465 bat echolocation call files at turbine sites ( = 34.88 call files/detector-night) and 1536 bat call files at adjacent non-turbine sites ( = 36.57 call files/detector-night). Bat activity did not differ significantly between turbine and non-turbine sites. A large proportion of recorded call files were made by Myotis sp. but this may be because we detected activity at ground level only. There was no relationship between types of turbine lights and either collision mortality or echolocation activity. The highest levels of bat echolocation activity and collision mortality were recorded during Jul. and Aug. during the autumn dispersal and migration period. The fatality rates for bats in general and little brown bats in particular were higher at the Top of Iowa Wind Resource Area than at other, comparable studies in the region. Future efforts to study behavior of bats in flight around turbines as well as cumulative impact studies should not ignore non-tree dwelling bats, generally regarded as minimally affected.
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