Journey North News

Bat Watching in Your Region

In addition to tracking the lesser long-nosed bat migration through the Mexican desert, 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 blue button below labeled, "Report Field Observations".

Did You Know?

Of the bats that hibernate, many of them MIGRATE to the place where they hibernate. Hundreds of miles in some cases!

Where Can I Find a Bat?

Our bat expert Dr. Ginny Dalton has these suggestions:

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 Florida I would be looking for bats now. 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. Pick a warm evening, above 10 degrees Celsius (50 F), when it's either dry or drizzling.

What Information Should I Record?

Whether you see bats or not, record the date and the temperature. What else would be interesting? Pretend you are a bat and pretend that you can fly. Would you be able to fly in a strong wind if you weighed an ounce or less? How well could you fly in a drenching rain? 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.

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 first sighting?
* Was there any wind or rain?
* Do your local bats migrate or hibernate?

Try This!

Save 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 you can get your folks to pitch in, and perhaps the whole class could purchase one and donate it to the school from the "Bat Studying Class of '96."

Conservation Caution

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!

Challenge Question # 88

"What is sonar?" (Please tell us as much as you can about it!)

How to Respond to Challenge Question # 88

1. Address an e-mail message to:

2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question #88.

3. In the Body of your message, answer the question.

The Next Lesser Long-nosed Bat Migration Update Will be Posted on April 25, 1996.

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