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.