Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘bats’

Gone Batty: The Creature Show Halloween Special

Monday, October 26th, 2015
Conserve Wildlife Foundation Biologist and 2015 Women & Wildlife Inspiration Award Winner Featured in Halloween Special of The Creature Show

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager



Just in time for Halloween, learn more about New Jersey’s bat population in the latest episode of The Creature Show! In this episode, join Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s wildlife ecologist Stephanie Feigin and 2015 Women & Wildlife Inspiration Award Winner MacKenzie Hall on their journey to track the federally listed Northern long-eared bat, hear from a young bat advocate and learn more about current threats to bat populations.


The Creature Show Halloween Special offers a glimpse into the work by New Jersey’s bat biologists to protect the remaining population of these misunderstood creatures of the night. Learn how to radio track a bat, see the joy in our biologists’ faces when all of their effort in the field pays off, and listen as common myths about bats are de-bunked.


The episode is running through Halloween in the small theater downstairs at Duke Farms‘ Orientation Center (Hillsborough, New Jersey) on a continuous loop in their “bat cave.”


The Creature Show is a documentary webseries dedicated to conservation storytelling. Their stage: the wilds of New Jersey, within the nation’s most crowded state. Here they find represented all the villains of global extinction, including habitat destruction, climate change, invasive species and wildlife disease. They also find wildlife biologists and regular citizens who have devoted themselves to protecting the region’s biodiversity, no matter what the challenges may be.


Learn more:



Creature Show Halloween Special from The Creature Show on Vimeo.


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

Halloween and Bats

Monday, October 19th, 2015
Spooky or Beneficial?

by Stephanie Feigin, Wildlife Ecologist

Big Brown Bat photo by Blaine Rothauser

Big Brown Bat photo by Blaine Rothauser

It’s that time of year again, the days are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping, and creatures of the night are lurking behind shadowy corners. As Halloween approaches one animal comes to the forefront of everyone’s mind – bats.


For most people, the connection between the spookiness of Halloween and bats is a natural fit. Bats are elusive creatures of the night that hide in dark spaces, and they live secretive lives leaving us in fear of their actions.


Bats have been misunderstood by humans for many years, and are still among the most persecuted animals on earth. In many parts of the world, bats are killed due to fear or harmful myths that make them seem scary or even dangerous.


To me, however, that connection does not seem like a natural fit. Bats are one of the most beneficial animals to humans. They can eat thousands of insects in one night, protecting our crops and forests from insect destruction. They pollinate many important foods that we love and are worth millions of dollars to U.S. agriculture alone.


Though tying bats with the Halloween season gets the general public thinking about bats for almost a full month, I prefer to think of bats every day. I like to think about them on a warm summer night when I am outside not being bit by mosquitoes, or when I am eating some of my favorite foods, like chocolate and bananas, that are pollinated by bats.


Sadly, however, due to the many threats that bats face today, we have lost a significant amount of our bat population nationwide. The continued loss of these animals will have drastic effects, including increasing the demand for chemical pesticides, and we will be losing a key link in our ecosystems that is irreplaceable.


This is why it is important that we work to love the bats we still have for all of the benefits they provide. We need to remove the spooky stigmas that surround bats and show them off in a new light, because to me the scariest thing would be a world without bats.

Red Bat photo by Blaine Rothauser

Red Bat photo by Blaine Rothauser

And they really are pretty cute.


Learn More:


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

Meet the 2015 Honorees: MacKenzie Hall, Women & Wildlife Inspiration Award Winner

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015
Wildlife Biologist Celebrated for Inspiring Non-Scientists of All Ages to Become Passionate Conservationists

by Lindsay McNamara, Communications Manager

MacKenzie Hall, 2015 Women & Wildlife Inspiration Award Winner

MacKenzie Hall, 2015 Women & Wildlife Inspiration Award Winner

A powerful force behind the conservation of wildlife in New Jersey, MacKenzie Hall began working as a wildlife biologist for Conserve Wildlife Foundation in 2004 and was been involved with projects spanning bat colonies, migrating amphibians, and grassland birds. What is most remarkable about Ms. Hall, however, is her ability to motivate the public to participate in these projects, inspiring non-scientists of all ages to become passionate conservationists.

Ms. Hall has supported and participated in bat research projects throughout the state. She took part in colony monitoring, mist-netting, and banding, working through many nights in order to benefit these enormously important species. In 2012, she launched a “Bats in Buildings” program offering New Jersey homeowners bat-friendly “eviction” resources, as well as free bat houses for displaced colonies.


In addition to her involvement in bat conservation, Ms. Hall is a passionate advocate for New Jersey’s amphibians and reptiles. She worked to address amphibian mortality on state roads, teaming up with working groups to help species of frogs and salamanders safely cross roads during their spring breeding season. She successfully coordinated amphibian surveys throughout the state, a task requiring road closures, the cooperation of multiple municipalities, the recruitment and training of volunteers, and the willingness to work outdoors overnight on cold, rainy nights!

In her work to implement conservation programs such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, Ms. Hall’s keen understanding of the process and positive attitude turned many farmers and landowners alike into dedicated environmental stewards.


Join us to honor MacKenzie and the two other 2015 Women & Wildlife Award Winners on Wednesday, October 28 beginning at 6pm. Purchase events tickets and find more information.

We asked MacKenzie a few questions about what working in wildlife conservation means to her:


What motivates you to get out of bed each morning and go to work?

So much to do!  Somehow the day always ends with more on the to-do list than it started with.  Working statewide means a lot of ground to cover, a lot of emails to answer, and a lot of people to convince that the bats in their eaves aren’t looking to murder their family.  Every day is a different adventure, even if I never leave my desk.  Days that I actually get to spend up-close with animals or see our work making a difference – like finding kestrel eggs in a nest box we put up for them, or cupping a beautiful salamander in my hands and moving her to the safe side of the road – those are the little moments of glory that make it all feel so simple.  It’s also really great to work with people who look at the world the same way I do, and who I can keep learning from.


What do you find most challenging about your profession?

Same answer as the last one, I think.  This is work that’s never done.  We rarely get to clap our hands together and say, “Ok, that species is saved, who’s next?”  Most of our successes take years and years, a lot of educating others, a lot of help from others, and endurance.


Name one thing you can’t live without.

Sunshine…summertime.  These crisp October days feel clean and refreshing, but I don’t want to close the windows and put a coat on!  I want to bask in the sun like a turtle.  I want sand that’s almost too hot to stand on.  I want to run around in a tank top and pick berries and stay out in the balmy night in flip-flops, with frogs screaming from the trees.


What interests you the most about New Jersey’s wildlife?

Most of them live at or near some interface with the human world, because so much of New Jersey is covered in our footprints.  We’ve got falcons on skyscrapers and shorebirds raising their chicks between houses and beach umbrellas.  And yah, colonies of bats living up in the eaves.  There’s a sense of sharing, because we’re all trying to make the most of our little spaces.  We have so many chances to connect and commune with wildlife on common ground, if we just pay attention and learn to share nice.


Name one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to change the world.

Figure out what you want the change to look like, and start with you.  Be a positive example for the people who are close to you, and they’ll help you pass it forward.  Don’t get too frustrated by the ones who don’t.

Please join us on Wednesday, October 28, 2015, from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, New Jersey to honor the contributions that MacKenzie Hall, Tanya Oznowich, and Pat Hamilton have made to wildlife in New Jersey.


This year’s very special event will feature keynote speaker Governor Christine Todd Whitman. The event will also celebrate CWF’s past decade of honoring women for their success in protecting, managing, restoring, and raising awareness for the Garden State’s endangered and threatened wildlife species.


Learn more:


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

Help Bats in the Garden State

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015
Build Bat Houses with CWF at the New Jersey WILD Outdoor Expo

by Ian Johansson, Eagle Scout Candidate and Conserve Wildlife Foundation Volunteer

A little brown bat, one of several bat species which will be added to the state's list of Endangered species. Photo by MacKenzie Hall.

A little brown bat. Photo by MacKenzie Hall.

I first met Liz Silvernail when my sister and I were given the unique opportunity to hold an eaglet while biologists from Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF) took data. This took place in Brick, New Jersey. After speaking with Liz and explaining that I was beginning to consider what I should do as my Eagle Scout project, she was gracious enough to offer her assistance helping me find a project that I could complete with Conserve Wildlife Foundation.


After introducing me to Stephanie Feigin, I was offered the chance to take on the project of building bat houses. The bat houses will be donated to Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey to put up before bats are evicted from attics, eaves, and buildings, so they can easily find a new place to roost. The bat houses will then be set up around the state to provide more suitable homes to bats that would otherwise be living in places that they were not welcome in or did not properly meet to their habitat needs.


Bat houses provide necessary roosting locations that cannot be provided in houses and buildings that bats inhabit if a proper living space is not readily available. Bat houses also provide spaces to raise young and hibernate, which is imperative for maintaining healthy bat populations.


Bats in New Jersey are the primary predators of night flying insects. They consume many of the pesky mosquitoes that swarm our backyards. Some bats can consume up to 4,500 insects nightly! A great way to help the bat population in New Jersey grow, is to build a bat house with us at the New Jersey Wild Outdoor Expo this weekend! The workshop is free. Materials are available on a first come, first served basis.


Stop by CWF’s tent at the Expo to learn more about bats and other imperiled wildlife species. You can always pick up plans to buy materials and make bat houses on your own.


Join us for the New Jersey WILD Outdoor Expo:

  • Saturday, September 12 and Sunday, September 13 from 10-5 PM
  • Colliers Mills Wildlife Management Area in Jackson Township, Ocean County
  • For online mapping directions and GPS navigation systems, use the address: 299 East Colliers Mill Road, New Egypt, NJ 08533
Bat houses getting the finishing touches.

Bat houses getting the finishing touches.


Ian Johansson is an Eagle Scout Candidate and Conserve Wildlife Foundation Volunteer.

Tracking a Federally Listed Bat Species across New Jersey

Friday, August 14th, 2015
An Update on CWF’s Northern long-eared Bat Statewide Mist Netting Surveys

by Stephanie Feigin, Wildlife Ecologist

Female Northern long eared bat (c) Ethan Gilardi

Female Northern long eared bat (c) Ethan Gilardi

White-nose Syndrome (WNS), a fungal disease, has devastated bat populations across the country. Over six million bats have been killed by the disease, which has spread to over 25 states and five Canadian provinces. The Northern long-eared bat is one of the species most affected by WNS, suffering from an overwhelming 99% reduction in numbers in WNS-affected areas.

Stephanie Feigin checks wing of a little brown bat for signs of white nose syndrome scarring. (c) Ethan Gilardi

Stephanie Feigin checks wing of a Northern long-eared bat for signs of white nose syndrome scarring. (c) Ethan Gilardi

As a result, in April 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Northern long-eared bat as federally threatened under the Endangered Species Act.


This summer, CWF Wildlife Ecologist Stephanie Feigin teamed up with NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife and Rutgers University to conduct a statewide mist netting and radio telemetry project to learn more about the summer distribution and habitat selection of Northern long-eared bats; an important project that can shed light on a species we know all too little about.


Mist-netting surveys began the week of June 1 and continued through the beginning of August. Survey sites included five state parks and Wildlife Management Areas across the state:

  • Sparta Mountain Wildlife Management Area
  • Rockaway River Wildlife Management Area
  • Washington Crossing State Park/Alexauken Creek Wildlife Management Area
  • Brendan Byrne State Forest
  • Wharton State Forest


The team, directed by Feigin, conducted a total of 19 netting nights and 10 tracking days, leading to a total of 63 bats caught, four of which were Northern long-eared bats. All four of the Northern long-eared bats received radio transmitters and were tracked everyday until the transmitter fell off.

Female Northern long-eared bat with transmitter attached to her back. (c) Stephanie Feigin

Female Northern long-eared bat with transmitter attached to her back. (c) Stephanie Feigin

After a long night of netting (5pm-2am) the team would set out the next day to track the bat caught the night before. This, however, was not an easy task. The maximum distance the antenna can receive a signal from the transmitter is ¾ of a mile (in perfect conditions). Though tough, the team was able to track the bats to five different roost sites including under the cedar siding of two homes, a narrow four foot stump, a large standing dead pitch pine, and another pitch pine in a recently burned forested area.


The mist netting and tracking study allowed us to collect important data on Northern long-eared bat populations throughout New Jersey. The data collected on habitat requirements and roost locations will help guide our conservation decisions. Ultimately, the study will allow us to better protect the remaining population of Northern-long eared bats in the Garden State.

Amanda Bevan, Rutgers University graduate student, scans area with ATS scanning receiver and Yagi 3-element antenna for a signal from the transmitter (c) Stephanie Feigin

Amanda Bevan, Rutgers University graduate student, scans area with ATS scanning receiver and Yagi 3-element antenna for a signal from the transmitter (c) Stephanie Feigin

This work was made possible with the support from the Franklin Parker Conservation Grants, EarthColor, and the Conserve Wildlife Matching Grant Program. Thank you to our supporters!

Learn more:


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