Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘bats’

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.


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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.

 

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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.

 

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Photos from the Field: Red Bat, Brown Bat, Flying Squirrel!

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016
Update on the Second Year of CWF’s Northern Long-eared Bat Study

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

Female (right) and male (left) eastern red bats after being removed from the same net. Photo by MacKenzie Hall.

Female (right) and male (left) eastern red bats after being removed from the same net. Photo by MacKenzie Hall.

In early June, CWF, in partnership with NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife, began the second year of the Northern long-eared bat mist netting and radio telemetry study. The team will be focusing efforts in Southern and Coastal New Jersey this year. The goal of the mist netting and radio telemetry project to learn more about the summer distribution and habitat selection of the federally listed Northern long-eared bat; an important project that can shed light on a species we know all too little about.

 

To date, the team has completed its second week of mist netting. So far, our team has caught 6 eastern red bats, 3 big brown bats and accidentally caught 2 flying squirrels in two different sites in southern New Jersey. Though a myotis bat has not been caught yet, the team did get acoustic detection of a tricolored bat (Perimyotis subflavus) foraging near the net site in Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area in Jackson, New Jersey!

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Flying squirrel being removed from a mist net. Photo by Stephanie Feigin.

Stay tuned for more updates as the season progresses!

 

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Lindsay McNamara is the Communications Manager for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

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!

 

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

New Jersey Little Brown Bat Resighted!

Monday, December 7th, 2015

by Stephanie Feigin, Wildlife Ecologist

Little brown bats (c) Stephanie Feigin

Little brown bats (c) Stephanie Feigin

“Luci,” a little brown bat banded in July 2014 at 2008 Women & Wildlife Award Winner Barbara Brummer’s pond house (a New Jersey maternity site) was recently resighted!

 

Biologists doing a hibernaculum survey in New York State found Luci in a mine in one of New York’s largest little brown bat hibernaucula about 70 miles north from her summer roost site in New Jersey!

 

“She is spending the winter with 37,000 of her closest friends.” – Carl Herzog Wildlife Biologist, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Wildlife Diversity Unit