Conserve Wildlife Blog

Photo from the Field

August 12th, 2010

Counting bats or the lack thereof

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

It is clear to me that White-nose syndrome (WNS) has decimated a large portion of the bat population in New Jersey, or at least at a site where I count bats for the Summer Bat Count. In 2008 (before WNS), I counted 261 bats at the Chatsworth General Store in August. Counting bats may seem like a daunting feat, but at dusk (when there is still a little light) the bats fly out of their daytime roosts. Sometimes, 1-2 at a time or in bursts of 3-4 or more. In August 2009, I counted 169 bats at the store. This past Sunday, I only counted 23 bats. To say the least these results are alarming. I hope that at other locations in New Jersey people are still seeing bats and I hope that WNS does not continue to decimate the population.

A photo of the bat houses installed on the Chatsworth General Store where many of the bats roost during the day. Many more used to roost in the attic. This image was captured using a technique referred to as HDR. © Ben Wurst.

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