The Habitat Acquisition Trust is hosting a bat count training session ahead of the Annual BC Bat Counts that will take place this summer. (Photo by Cory Olson)

Volunteers needed to help count bats, training available

Bat count training session runs May 26, ahead of Annual BC Bat Count

As the Annual BC Bat Count nears, the BC Community Bat Program is seeking help from volunteers to count bats at Vancouver Island roost sites.

In 2018, the bat count collected baseline data on bat populations at 214 sites across B.C. The program is hoping to find more sites this year.

The count data helps bat biologists understand bat distribution and normal variation in colony sizes before White Nose Syndrome affects bats in the province.

READ ALSO: Public’s help needed in tracking fatal bat disease

White Nose Syndrome is a fungal disease responsible for the death of millions of bats in eastern North America and has made its way to the west coast. It was confirmed in Washington State, 150 kilometres south of the B.C. and U.S. border.

The disease has near 100 percent mortality for some species of bats exposed to the fungus, including the Little Brown Myotis bat which can be found across Canada.

The Habitat Acquisition Trust (HAT) hosts a bat count training session May 26 from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Saanich’s Elk/Beaver Lake Park. This is a chance for people to learn about counting protocol and be matched with team leaders for specific roost sites.

People can register for the event by e-mailing bat@hat.bc.ca.

“The counts are a wonderful way for people to get involved in collecting important scientific information, as well as learn about bat behaviour,” said Estraven Lupino-Smith, coordinator of the HAT Bat Stewardship Program.

During the bat count, volunteers wait outside a known roost site — such as a bat-house, barn, bridge or attic — and count bats as they fly out at twilight. They record the final number along with basic information on weather conditions.

READ ALSO: Metchosin community gathers to celebrate with Bat Bash

Ideally, one to two counts are done between June 1 and June 21 before pups are born, and one to two more are conducted between July 11 and Aug. 5 when pups are flying.

“We know relatively little about bats in B.C., including basic information on population numbers,” said Paige Erickson-McGee, stewardship coordinator at HAT. “This information is more valuable than ever, particularly if it is collected annually.”

HAT will try to match individuals with a roost site nearby if they want to get involved but don’t have one on their property.

The BC Community Bat Program is funded by the HAT foundation, the Forest Enhancement Society of BC, the Habitat Stewardship Program and LUSH cosmetics. It also receives support from the BC Conservation Foundation and the Province of B.C.

The program provides information for people dealing with bat issues on their property or who have questions about how to attract bats.

To find out more about bat counts or White Nose Syndrome, to report a dead bat or to get assistance dealing with bat issues, go to hat.bc.ca/bats or call 250-995-2428.

shalu.mehta@goldstreamgazette.com


 

vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter
and Instagram

Just Posted

15-year-old Nanaimo singer who had viral Facebook video releases single

Lauren Spencer-Smith recently appeared on American comedian Steve Harvey’s talk show

Meet Clover the Commonwealth Cat

Feline has made Saanich Commonwealth Place a second home

Column: Rest in peace, customer service

Customer service on the phone is often lacking; online it’s nearly non-existent

Margaret Atwood coming to UVic to discuss ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ sequel

‘The Testaments’ comes 34 years after release of famous novel, now a Hulu series

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

The father and two youngesters fell down a steep and treachorous cliff while hiking on Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Two cats die in house fire in Nanaimo

Fire happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday on Fifth Street, one resident displaced

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

RCMP arrest violent offender on Vancouver Island

Campbell River police struggle with suspect and take him down with a taser

Most Read