Conserve Wildlife Blog

Posts Tagged ‘bats’

Help Northern Long-Eared Bats Become Listed as Endangered Species

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

By: Lindsay McNamara, Communications Coordinator

Photo Credit: MacKenzie Hall

Photo Credit: MacKenzie Hall

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reopened the public comment period on a proposal to list the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Comments will be accepted through Thursday, December 18, 2014.

 

The public is invited to submit comments one of two ways:

(1)  Electronically:  Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov.  In the Search box, enter Docket No. FWS–R5–ES–2011–0024. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!”

(2)  By hard copy:  Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to:  Public Comments Processing, Attn:  FWS–R5–ES–2011–0024; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

During the previous comment period, from June 30 to August 29, 2014, USFWS received over 65,800 comments on this issue!

 

Why is it so important?

The Northern Long Eared Bat, like many other bat species in the United States, is in danger of extinction due to White-Nose Syndrome, impacts to hibernacula, summer habitat loss and wind farm operation. Listing a species as endangered, under the protections of the Act, increases the priority of the species for funds, grants, and recovery opportunities.

 

How Else Can You Help Protect Northern Long-Eared Bats?
These tips were pulled from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Northern Long-Eared Bat Fact Sheet:

  • Do Not Disturb Hibernating Bats
  • Leave Dead and Dying Trees Standing: Where possible and not a safety hazard, leave dead or dying trees on your property. Northern long-eared bats and many other animals use these trees.
  • Install a Bat Box: Dead and dying trees are usually not left standing, so trees suitable for roosting may be in short supply and bat boxes can provide additional roost sites.

 

Learn more:

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

Read All About It: Newsworthy BatCam Big Brown Bats

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

By: Lindsay McNamara, Communications CoordinatorStephanieBatCamABC7

BatCam, the live-action camera that captures a colony of big brown bats living in a family home in Flemington, received plenty of media attention this week. BatCam is hosted on Conserve Wildlife Foundation‘s website, thanks to the Williams family.

The bats’ unusual choice of a summer roost has given this family a unique peek at their lives, from knowing exactly when the bats return from hibernation each spring, to watching them give birth and care for their pups though the summer.

The bats also caught the attention of New Jersey media. Read about the colony of big brown bats:

Learn more about Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s work to help protect NJ’s bat population:

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

Identifying with New Jersey’s Fascinating Bats

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Hard to believe, but October is already here! And that can only mean one thing – bats! Everyday throughout the month of October, follow CWF on social media and our blog to fly high with these incredible creatures of the night! Each day we will have fun facts, quizzes, and beautiful photos highlighting these amazing animals and the work CWF does to protect them.

Our previous coverage included an overview of bats in New Jersey from our biologist, a look into the threats bats are facing today, a reality check on some myths and legends surrounding bats, and shared some examples in ways you can get involved in our efforts to save bats. This week, for the final week of October, join CWF bat biologist Stephanie Feigin in the field! 

Make sure to follow us everyday on Facebook and Twitter and read our blog every Friday for our #31daysofbats!


by Stephanie Feigin

Stephanie Feigin and MacKenzie Hall monitoring a bat roost in an attic

Stephanie Feigin and MacKenzie Hall monitoring a bat roost in an attic

I think it is surprising how little people know about bats considering  how beneficial they are to humans. From eating the bugs that bite us and reducing the need for pesticides on our farms, to helping doctors learn the advantages of echolocation to the blind, knowledge of these important creatures should be at least as common as the sight of them flying overhead. Since I have started working on Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s bat projects, I have noticed just how fascinated people can be with bats, and how excited they are to learn more about these elusive creatures of the night.

In giving presentations on bats in New Jersey, I realize how many people still believe the myths about bats and generally regard them as spooky or creepy, not beneficial and cute I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experiences in order to correct the many misconceptions.The first time I saw a bat it was hiding behind a beam in the attic of an old church. I was shocked at how adorable and small the bat was, and I still get that same feeling every time I see some tiny bat ears poking out over top of a beam or tiny bat eyes looking back at me.

Every time I go out, whether it is to monitor a site where CWF has installed bat houses and do a bat count, or to assist other researchers in a banding survey of bats getting ready to hibernate, or even just to walk along the canal by my house with the acoustic detector, I have felt a connection to these animals. I love the dynamics of their roosts, the way they snuggle together for warmth, and the little chatter sounds they make when they are getting ready to go out to hunt for the night.

Keeled calcar on Indiana bat (c) MacKenzie Hall

Keeled calcar on Indiana bat (c) MacKenzie Hall

There is so much to learn and understand about bats. One thing I have especially loved learning is the subtle differences between one bat species from the next. Have you ever looked up and seen a bat flying overhead? But instead of just saying, “Hey, that’s a bat!” Have you ever spent time thinking, “I wonder what type of bat that is?” Well I have, and sometimes it is not that easy to decipher. We have nine different bat species in New Jersey. Some of these are easier to identify than others. The hoary bat, for example, is easily identified because it is largest bat in New Jersey, with bodies measuring from 5 to 6 inches and wingspans reaching up to 17 inches. These bats also have a lower frequency of call, making it easy to read on a sonogram.

Some of our other bat species however, possess very subtle and small differences, making them much harder to distinguish from one another. All four of these species are “cousins” and are part of the Myotis genus. In New Jersey, the bats in the Myotis genus are the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalist), the long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis), and the eastern small-footed bat (Myotis leibii).

Indiana bat (c) Stephanie Feigin

Indiana bat (c) Stephanie Feigin

In my opinion, it is the hardest to identify Indiana bats from little brown bats. One way to do this is by the length of their toe hairs. Indiana bats will have smaller toe hairs than the little brown bats, and they will not extend past their toenails. Indiana bats also have a keeled calcar, or a foot spur of cartilage, that supports the membrane between the foot and tail. This looks like a tiny strip of extra skin on the membrane between the bat’s foot and tail.

Another way to identify which bats are in the area is with the use of an acoustic detector. All of the myotis bats have very similar calls, all in the same frequency range, making it very hard to identify one bat from the other on a sonogram. Even the computer program we use will not take a guess as to which myotis it is because their calls are so similar! Since the first time I went out with the acoustic detector, I have been enthralled by the different chatters of the bats, from the feeding buzz to their chatters to each other while flying and hunting for food. I have gained a new perspective on the world of bats and me developed a true connection to these animals.

Big brown bats (c) MacKenzie Hall

Big brown bats (c) MacKenzie Hall

It is exciting to be a part of the bat projects at CWF and to have the opportunity to understand bats further, help research and implement ways to protect them, and educate the public about who these animals really are. They are not creepy, scary rodents who will attack you and fly into your hair. They are adorable, helpful mammals that I think everyone can find a way to appreciate, just like I have.

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

Big brown bats in N.J. thrive as smaller cousins decline

Saturday, October 25th, 2014
Big Brown Bats (c) Phil Wooldridge

Big Brown Bats (c) Phil Wooldridge

White-nose syndrome continues to kill off little brown bats in New Jersey, but there is hope on the horizon for another species of bat – the big brown bat. Reporter James O’Neill explores the changing fortunes of New Jersey’s bats.

Protecting Bats – What is Being Done and How You Can Help!

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Hard to believe, but October is already here! And that can only mean one thing — bats! Everyday throughout the month of October, follow CWF on social media and our blog to fly high with these incredible creatures of the night! Each day we will have fun facts, quizzes, and beautiful photos highlighting these amazing animals and the work CWF does to protect them.

Our previous coverage included an overview of bats in New Jersey from our biologist, a look into the threats facing bats today, and a reality check on the myths and legends surrounding bats! Today we share some examples of ways you can get involved in our efforts to save bats in New Jersey.  Stay tuned next week to join CWF bat biologist Stephanie Feigin in the field!

Make sure to follow us everyday on Facebook and Twitter and read our blog every Friday for our #31daysofbats!


By Julianne Maksym

Big brown bats in bat house (c) Stephanie Feigin

Big brown bats in bat house (c) Stephanie Feigin

With terrifying threats like White Nose Syndrome, bats face a tremendous fight for survival. Populations are declining worldwide at an alarming rate – some species are becoming so rare they are hardly ever seen at all.

Bats need all the help they can get and Conserve Wildlife Foundation (CWF) offers some simple ways to get involved and make a difference:

Building a bat house: This can create a safe and secure home for a colony of bats of up to 80 individuals. These houses provide the opportunity for bats to settle into a new roost before being evicted from a homeowner’s dwelling. The most ideal location to position a bat house is on the side of a building (where bats already roost) or on a pole in open space. The house should be set at a minimum of 12 feet off the ground facing south to southeast with early and direct sunlight. CWF is able to offer free bat houses in cases where bats are being evicted from a building. If interested in setting up a bat house please contact us, as we would like to monitor the process.

Summer Bat Count: During the hot summer months, we ask volunteers to participate in our annual Summer Bat Count. There are a total of four bat counts per summer – two between May 15 and June 21 (before pups can fly) and two more between July 6 and July 31 (when pups are flying and exiting the roost with their mothers). Making sure you do all four bat counts will allow us to best compare data from year to year and between sites. Previous yearly reports and current data sheets can be found at CWF’s ‘Summer Bat Count’ page.

AnaBat acoustic detector. The attached PDA (like a little computer screen) lets us view incoming bat calls instantly. © MacKenzie Hall

AnaBat acoustic detector. The attached PDA (like a little computer screen) lets us view incoming bat calls instantly. © MacKenzie Hall

Acoustic surveys: To aid in bat research across New Jersey, CWF purchased two AnaBat SD2 acoustic detectors for the purpose of studying echolocation and general bat behavior. Four bat detectors are now in circulation for use; volunteers now do most of our mobile acoustic surveys. Volunteers are assigned a 10-30 mile driving route in their local area to travel twice each summer after dark. Detectors can be mounted on vehicles and activated while driving at night, making them a pretty quick and easy way to get a lot of information – all without having to catch, hold, or even see a single animal. For more details please contact us, as there is currently a waiting list for the acoustic detectors.

Plant a night garden: Love bats and have a green thumb? Plant a night garden! In these sanctuaries, night-scented flowers are grown to attract bugs such as moths, which in effect provides an ample food source for bats. Plants such as white jasmine and evening primrose and herbs such as mint and lemon balm are great to start with. Plant oak or field maple trees to add some shelter and warmth to your garden. To get started on your green project, check out Back to Nature, an artisanal home and garden store located in Basking Ridge, NJ. *Note: 10% discount for CWF members.

Do not disturb bats during hibernation: A huge way in which to help maintain stable bat populations is to stay away from caves, roosts, or trees during hibernation season. It is important to not disturb a hibernating bat as any disruption to its sleep can result in early awakenings. It is estimated that a bat can burn up to a two weeks worth of fat reserves in each awakening which in turn can severely weaken and/or kill the bat. Whether you are outside hiking or just taking a stroll and encounter a roost, leave quickly and quietly!

IMG_1497Adopt a Species Program: Interested in adopting a bat? Check out CWF’s Adopt a Species Program for the Indiana Bat. Your symbolic adoption supports our efforts to protect New Jersey’s rarest animals, restore important habitat, and foster pride in New Jersey’s rich wildlife heritage. Adopting a Species also makes a great gift for a friend or loved one. Give the gift that gives twice!

Bats face an ever-present uphill battle due to both natural and unnatural causes. Populations are in desperate need of help! Whether it is building a bat house or a night garden or anything in between, every action you take in supporting these animals means we are one step closer in providing a stable world for them. Join CWF in volunteering your time, educating the public and most importantly, protecting our amazing bats!

Julianne Maksym is a graduate wildlife intern for Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey