Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘bats’

Acoustic Monitoring Drives Efforts to Save Bats

Friday, October 5th, 2018

by Stephanie Feigin, CWF Wildlife Ecologist

Volunteer Nicole Dion ready to conduct mobile acoustic survey

Across the country bat populations continue to decline due to the threat of White Nose Syndrome. Last year, to collect important population data to monitor population trends of New Jersey’s bat species, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF), in partnership with Endangered and Nongame Species Program (ENSP), re-launched their Statewide Mobile Acoustic Surveys with new equipment and protocol. With all the kinks of a revamped project worked out, CWF entered their second year of this project. (more…)

The Record: Unseasonable February weather not great for wildlife & plants

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Reporter James O’Neill covers the impacts on plants and wildlife from the unseasonably warm weather for New Jersey this winter in this story for The Record.

Big Brown Bat by Blaine Rothauser.

Bats, migratory birds, and other wildlife are challenged by earlier than usual spring-like conditions, says Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s David Wheeler.

 


CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL STORY


 

Princeton Seventh-Graders Protect Bats through Hands-on Research Project

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Students partner with nonprofit Conserve Wildlife Foundation to design better bat houses

By Stephanie Feigin

Although bats have a reputation of being dangerous and scary, these flying mammals are something to be coveted, and the students at Princeton Day School know why. Seventh grade students Albert Ming, Arjun Sen, Martin Sen, Dodge Martinson, Kai Shah, and Samuel Tang teamed up with Conserve Wildlife Foundation to design a better construction plan for bat houses. The students hope to promote better conditions for bats living in Central Jersey.

Bats are in the midst of tragic declines as a consequence of habitat loss and a devastating fungal disease known as White-nose Syndrome. CWF works to preserve bats, which basically provide a free pest removal service. A single bat can consume up to 3,000 mosquito-sized insects in one night! Their value to agriculture is estimated at $53 billion annually in the United States alone. Not to mention they provide mosquito and biting insect control, which are not only a nuisance but also have disease spreading potential.

Many bats in New Jersey have come to depend on manmade bat houses, structures specifically designed and placed for the needs of the bats, and the Princeton Day School students stepped up to help.

First, the students researched the best, most economical type of wood to use for construction. Next, they used an infrared thermometer to see how well heat is absorbed and retained by the different wood types after they were painted and stained using three different colors.

Keeping the inside of a bat house within the right temperature range is vital to the survival of bats, especially the vulnerable young pups. If a bat house becomes too hot (above 95 degrees) or too cold (below 65 degrees), the health of the bats is threatened. Bats move their pups from house to house in search of the right temperatures.

The students used the results of their temperature experiment and high and low temperature readings for Central Jersey over the past three years to design a plan for a bat condo unit that would satisfy bats temperature requirements during their entire six month roosting period.

The x – axis is the number of hours passed during the day and the y- axis represents degrees Fahrenheit.
This graph displays the research for the best type of wood (cedar, pine or plywood) to use for constructing bat houses, along with different kinds of paint (adobe, slate or russet) to determine which combination could retain the most heat for the bat colonies. Heat retention was measured over a long period of time while exposed to the sun.
The research revealed that the bat houses are most successful if they are painted or stained and weather resistant wood like cedar would last much longer than softer wood like pine or plywood. When cedar wood was used the temperature changed the most as the air temperature changed and the least when sunset came. When plywood was used the temperature changed the least as the air temperature changed and the most when sunset came. When pine wood was used the temperature changed moderately as the air temperature and moderately when sunset came.
The conclusion made was that there are differences among wood and paint combinations. Adobe paint on plywood has the smallest average temperature change even though the difference is not statistically significant and adobe paint on cedar had the smallest temperature change between 4 and 6 degrees. They chose adobe paint on cedar or plywood as they are also the most cost effective.

With the results of their research and experiments, the students made informed decisions to design the bat boxes. The final product was three bat houses built using plywood. They painted one of the houses in a black slate color to provide maximum heat during the colder months, and painted a second house in an adobe beige color to provide air conditioning during the hot summer months. Lastly, they chose a russet color to for the moderate months.

CWF Wildlife ecologist Stephanie Feign who worked with the students on the project was happy to see how passionate these kids were to learn and be hands-on. “Their passion and enthusiasm were inspiring. Projects like these not only benefit wildlife, but also benefit surrounding communities and provide experiential learning for students.”

New Jersey is home to nine different species of bats, two of which are listed as endangered or threatened. Six species that do not migrate south for the winter remain in New Jersey to hibernate in a cave or another safe place. When they awake from hibernation in April, the females search for roosting spots to bear and raise their young pups. With so few intact forests in New Jersey, bats are struggling to find places to safely roost.

That is why projects like this one with Princeton Day School are essential for preserving bats. Not only did the projects help bats, but it also helped the students by requiring them to use problem solving and critical thinking skills to protect a creature that they came to value. Wildlife, which kids become excited and passionate about, is a valuable educational tool.

The team is currently working with Princeton Day School facilities to erect the bat condo unit on campus. Hopefully, by next spring, the school will be home to many new, very comfortable bats.


LEARN MORE:


Stephanie Feigin is a Wildlife Ecologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation.

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


 

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:

 

  • Subscribe!

    Enter your email address to subscribe to the Conserve Wildlife Blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Support Conserve Wildlife Foundation

    Support our efforts to protect New Jersey’s rarest animals, restore important habitat, and foster pride in New Jersey’s rich wildlife heritage.

    Join - Donate - Adopt a Species
  • Recent Comments