The Kootenay Community Bat Project (KCBP) is hard at work counting bat numbers in the Columbia Valley, and are looking for residents to help them understand the impacts of White Nose Syndrome, a disease that is decimating bat populations in eastern North America. This initiative, funded by Columbia Basin Trust, encourages residents to wait outside roost sites at dusk and count bats as they leave.
“This event is a wonderful opportunity for residents who care about wildlife to be involved in collecting valuable information,” says Juliet Craig, co-ordinating biologist for the KCBP. “They don’t need any special skills and kids can be involved.”
Residents 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 count along with some basic information on weather conditions. Two counts were done between June 1 and 21 before the pups were born, and two more between July 21 and August 15 when pups are flying with their mothers.
“We know relatively little about bats including basic information on population numbers” says Craig. “This information will be extremely valuable, particularly if it is collected annually.” To download Annual Bat Count instructions and data forms, or to register for the bat count, visit www.kootenaybats.com under the ‘Get Involved’ link.