Bats: Part 1
My Latest 'Bird Watcher' Column

Bats: Part II

  As some of you may know, I have been counting bats every summer for the state of New Jersey for several years -- hitting rock bottom last year with no bats at three roosts I checked.

   If you know of any bat roosts near you, read on.  Conservationists need your help.

  MacKenzie Hall of the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey writes:

 In 2009, New Jersey Summer Bat Count data helped us measure the impact of White-nose Syndrome on NJ's bats.  How many bats had died?  Would the survivors be able to heal and to raise young?  The answers may be more complex than we imagined.  Read our 2009 report here ( Download Cwnj_3.

  Information from citizen scientists is just as important this year, whether the bats at your roost site have increased, decreased, or disappeared altogether.

  More information follows.

   We're asking that Summer Bat Counters conduct four bat counts at each roost site this year.  The first and second counts should take place during the "pre-volant" period (~May 15-June 21), when newborn bats are still flightless and only the mother bats are observed exiting their roosts at dusk.  The third and fourth counts should take place during the "post-volant" period (~July 6-August 10), when young bats are able to fly and hunt insects on their own.

   Remember, these are emergence counts...simply stand outside the bat roost at dusk (about 30 minutes before dark) and tally the bats as they fly out to begin their nightly foraging.  This may require more than one person if bats are exiting from multiple places.

  Please complete a 2010 Summer Bat Count data sheet (Download Cwnj_55) and return it to us at the end of the summer.  Any questions, just ask!

 We can help you!  If you can't do all four bat counts, just let us know.  We have staff and volunteers who are willing to count for you.

   Thanks very much, everybody.  This is a somber time for bats and bat research; your participation and support are greatly appreciated.

  You can e-mail MacKenzie Hall here.