Bat Watching in YOUR Region!
We hope you'll share information about the bats in your area. When you
see your FIRST bat this season, please let us know! Simply fill out a
Field Data Form by selecting the Owl button on any Journey North Web
Bats spend the day in caves, mines, buildings, under bridges, or
in trees. It is extremely difficult to find them, especially those
that roost as solitary individuals. However, the ones that congregate
in large numbers are easy to find. It's also easy to disturb them and
thus harm them. Please do not visit bats in their day roosting sites!
1. Find a Bat
Where can you find a bat? Bat expert Dr. Ginny Dalton has these suggestions:
a warm evening, above 10 degrees Celsius (50 F), when it's either
dry or drizzling."
- In temperate regions, look for insectivorous bats around streetlights
when bats forage for the insects that are drawn to those lights. Start
looking around dusk. Different species of bats leave their day roosts
at different times -- some before sunset, some afterwards. However,
if you started looking about 5-15 minutes after sunset and wait for
an hour at the most, you might see some bats chasing insects that are
drawn to the street lights. Lights near woods or open fields, maybe
in the parking lot of a city park, are a good place to start.
- If I were in Virginia, I'd start looking maybe in early May. I'd
TRY early May if I were in Michigan, but maybe mid-May is better.
2. Record Information
- Whether you see bats or not, record the date and the temperature.
- After you've seen the season's first bats, find out how windy or
rainy or cold it has to get for bats to stay home in the evening.
3. Report to Journey North
In the comments section of your Field Data Form, please tell us as much
as you can about the bats in your region: For example:
- Which bat species live in your area?
- What do they eat?
- What did you see first this spring, a bat or a mosquito?
- What were the average night-time temperatures at the time of your
- Was there any wind or rain?
- Do your local bats migrate or hibernate?
Try This! Hear the Bats
your money for purchase of a "bat detector" (obtained
from someplace like BCI) so
you can "hear" the bats as they use their sonar to locate
their tasty meal items. Bat detectors are not inexpensive, so maybe
get your folks to pitch in, and perhaps the whole class could purchase
one and donate it to the school.