Bat Monitoring Project Update

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Bat Monitoring Project Update

September 19, 2016

Debbie Leick and Kate Stone share an update on bat trapping and acoustic monitoring.

An unusually quiet big brown bat rested on Kate’s wrist before it flew away.

In 2013 we began a collaboration with Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. Our goal is to document bat species and their preferred habitats on the ranch. We captured bats and collected information on their sex-ratio, age-class, reproductive characteristics, and we looked for signs of white-nose syndrome.

This summer, we caught a total of 23 bats of at least six species. These included big brown, California myotis, little brown myotis, long-eared myotis, long-legged myotis, and silver- haired bats.

 Lewis measured forearm length to help distinguish species. This measurement, combined with fur seen on the underside of the bat’s wing, confirmed it was a long-legged myotis.

ery sharp teeth on the long-eared myotis, above, suggested a younger bat. Well-worn teeth on the California myotis, below, indicated an older bat.

Though yearly bat captures at each monitoring site varied between sites, we consistently caught more bats at the Davis Creek road seep (Table 3).

We do not know for certain why some locations had low or no bat captures. At floodplain trapping sites, bats have many water sources to choose from.

For certain species, we saw variation in capture locations (Table 4). We only caught silver- haired bats on the floodplain, and long-eared myotis and California myotis at upland sites.

In the winter of 2013, we began a bat acoustic project to collect baseline species data. We set up a longer-term monitoring site at the Clubhouse Floodplain pond and rotated two other recorders through areas on the ranch.

 We found differences in thWe number of species detected between 2013 and 2014.

n 2017, we plan to continue trapping at the Davis Creek road seep, the Northern Floodplain channel, and the Tongue Creek pond. We also plan to install bat boxes at the Tongue Creek pond this fall.