NH Bat Survey Project 2015 Season

Posted on November 1, 2015
bat survey team

Volunteers conducting a maternity roost count at the Willard Pond barn. Photo by Cynthia Nichols.

The Bat Survey Team got busy early this year, revving up their bat mobiles and heading out on the road in late May to record vocalizations of foraging bats.

Over the summer, a total of 19 teams conducted 46 surveys, ending up with a total of 6537 bats recorded over all survey routes. Of the 65% of vocalizations that were distinguishable to species, nearly all were larger bat species, including the Big Brown Bat, Red Bat, Hoary Bat, and Silver-haired Bat. Only 3% of all vocalizations were identified as small bat species, which include the Little Brown bat – once our most common species.

In the meantime…another group of dedicated volunteers conducted maternity roost counts at 29 locations, and preliminary results show that colonies of female bats ranged from just four to 144. Eleven of these volunteers also collected bat scat to send to a UNH researcher who is studying what bats are eating through DNA analysis. This research has already shown the variety and seasonality of different insect species in bat diets, and may help identify new locations of invasive insect species that bats end up preying on.