Conserve Wildlife Blog

Archive for the ‘Bats’ Category

Halloween Without Bats

Monday, October 31st, 2016

By Stephanie Feigin, Wildlife Ecologist

This Halloween, while you are with friends and family celebrating a spooky evening of fun, I ask you to take a moment and think about one more thing – Halloween without bats. I want you to think about bats today not as the spooky creatures of the night that some people normally think of them as, but as incredible mammals that are invaluable to our ecosystem. In New Jersey, all of our 9 bat species are insectivores. They can eat thousands of insects in one night, protecting our crops and forests from insect destruction, and they pollinate many important foods that we love. A study published in Science magazine estimates that bats’ insect-eating services may be worth as much as $53 billion to US agriculture alone.

Photo courtesy of Blaine Rothauser.

Photo courtesy of Blaine Rothauser.

Despite the many environmental and economic benefits bats provide, bat populations around the world are still declining. Bats face many threats, including habitat loss and destruction, human persecution, wind energy development, and White-Nose Syndrome.

Little brown bats. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Feigin.

Little brown bats. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Feigin.

Devastatingly, we have lost over 6 million bats nationwide due to the spread of White Nose Syndrome (WNS) – a disease caused by a cold-loving fungus called Pseudogymnoascus destructans or Pd. It attacks hibernating bats, disturbing them during hibernation when the bats’ immune response is low, and prevents them from conserving enough stored energy to survive until spring. WNS also causes dehydration and unrest as well as severe wing damage that can prevent bats from flying. Much is still unknown about White-nose syndrome, its spread, and its consequences. The federal government, states, several universities, and organizations like ours are working hard to track and understand this disease.

Big brown bat emerging from barn. Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Hall.

Big brown bat emerging from barn. Photo courtesy of Mackenzie Hall.

In New Jersey, about 50,000 bats were killed by WNS in the first year (2009) – and we now estimate over 60 tons of mosquitoes and other night-flying insects go undevoured each year from loss of bats. Though bats are one of the most beneficial animals to humans they are still poorly understood and underappreciated, which is why today I ask you to think of them in a new light. Today, think about bats for all of the wonderful benefits they provide, think of them as amazing animals that work hard at night to protect our ecosystems, because we need to make a change.

To protect the bats we still have, it is important that people understand the stress these bats are under. It is important that we re-think how we view bats, remove the spooky stigmas that surround them and appreciate their importance to us. So today, think about bats think about how important they are, how badly we need to protect them and how scary a world without bats would be.

Big brown bat. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Feigin.

Big brown bat. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Feigin.

 

Stephanie Feigin is a wildlife ecologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation.


LEARN MORE


 

Tracking NJ Eagles: Update

Friday, August 5th, 2016

Larissa Smith: CWF Wildlife Biologist

Since the spring of 2014 CWF and the NJ Endangered and Nongame Spieces Program have been tracking a transmittered eagle named “Nacote”, D/95. He fledged from the Galloway nest (Atlantic County) in the summer of 2014 and made a trip up to Canada, he returned to NJ in Mid-October of 2014 and has been in southern NJ ever since, spending most of his time in Cape May and Atlantic Counties. He spend some time in April near his nest of origin at Forsythe NWF  where he was photographed.

D/95 "Nacote" at Tuckahoe Lake 7/21/16@ Kathy Clark

D/95 “Nacote” at Tuckahoe Lake 7/21/16@ Kathy Clark

In the past few weeks he has been in Upper Cape May County spending time at the county landfill and he even made an appearance at  Tuckahoe Lake behind our office. NJ ENSP biologist, Kathy Clark was able to get a photo of him perched by the lake.

Another eagle we are tracking “Oran”, fledged from the Egg Island nest, Cumberland County along the Delaware Bay in the summer of 2015.  In Mid-November he headed south and spent the winter down in the Chesapeake Bay area and returned to southern NJ in the spring 2016. “Oran” spent most of his time ranging around Cumberland County until making a bold move north in Mid-July. He flew to Maine in two days and then north into Canada, south of Quebec City.  He has been out of range and the last signal received was July 18th when he was at the Maine/Canadian Border.

 


Flemington “BatCam” Bats Banded LIVE on Facebook

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

BIG BROWN BATS ARE THE STAR OF THE SHOW FOR OVER 200,000 ONLINE FOLLOWERS

By Stephanie Feigin, Wildlife Ecologist

Earlier this week marked the second year that Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey wildlife ecologist Stephanie Feigin, along with project partner MacKenzie Hall from New Jersey’s Division of Fish and Wildlife and project interns from Rutgers University, banded the BatCam bats. This banding survey was part of a long standing maternity survey project conducted by CWF in partnership with NJDEP. These surveys allow us to gain important information about reproductive success, record weight, sex and age status of the bats, assess bats for signs of white-nose syndrome, and band bats for future observation.

 

IMG_2302 IMG_2295 IMG_2292

Photos by Stephanie Feigin

 

This year, the team decided to stream the banding of big brown bats LIVE on Facebook. Allowing viewers to gain a once in a lifetime opportunity to see wildlife in a way they have never seen before and giving us the ability to directly interact with thousands of followers as we conducted an important wildlife survey. The banding has reached over 200,000 online followers as of Thursday morning.

 

The team caught and banded 36 bats total, 14 adult females (10 were recaputres from last year, 4 were banded as juveniles last year) and 23 juveniles (12 males and 11 female). All of the bats were weighed, measured, and banded according to the same coding as last year (red for juveniles and silver for adults).

 

The main goal of our Bat Project is to protect the bats we have in New Jersey, protect their habitats, learn more about their life cycles, and educate the public on the benefits of bats and how amazing and beneficial they truly are. By streaming live, we were able to shed new light on bats and allow the public to gain a better understanding for these special mammals.

 

Learn More:

 

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey “2015 Annual Report” Released

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

CWF Releases its Second Annual Report Using a Story Map Format:

2015 Annual Report


Technology has proven to be vital to Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s work protecting rare wildlife species over the years. Our biologists depend greatly on modern technologies to band, track, and share online the journeys of wildlife. Our webcams broadcast the most intimate behaviors of nesting birds and bats across the web. And we seek out ever-evolving communications technologies to spread the word about the inspiring stories of wildlife, from social media and infographs to e-books and Story Maps. These technologies offer newfound abilities to share complex data on multiple levels, while still incorporating the awe-inspiring photography and videos that bring wildlife’s stories to life.

Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey is excited to offer our 2015 Annual Report in a unique format that utilizes one of those technologies – Story Maps. In the past year, we have explored the lives of seals, eagles, and freshwater mussels with Story Maps – and the annual report allows all of our projects to be highlighted in this interactive format as well.

Visit the multiple pages within this Story Map to learn about Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s many projects and partnerships in 2015, and the imperiled wildlife species in need of our help. Find examples of the innovative and dedicated leadership of our biologists and volunteers. And take an online journey across the state to learn how our projects made a difference in all corners of New Jersey in 2015 – a great year for wildlife in the Garden State!


 

The BatCam Bats are Back!

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016
Watch a Family of Bats LIVE on Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s BatCam

by: Stephanie Feigin, Wildlife Ecologist

BatCam Bats

Juvenile big brown bat that was banded last year has returned to the roost!

Early April 2016, the BatCam bats returned to their roost in the window of the Williams’ home. As of now, it seems that only part of the colony has returned — about 20 big brown bats.

 

Last year CWF’s Stephanie Feigin and ENSP’s MacKenzie Hall banded the BatCam bats. We banded a total of 48 bats, about half of the bats banded were adults (banded with silver bands) and the others were juveniles (banded with red bands). This has allowed us to now see that some of the returning bats were banded last year. We even have some juveniles that have returned to the roost with their moms from last year!

 

Make sure to stay tuned for when the moms give birth to their pups in June and other updates throughout the season!

 

Learn More:

 

Stephanie Feigin is the Wildlife Ecologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.