Swift and apparently silent, a lone bat traces the contours of the woods’ edge at dusk, floating through canopy and meadow. In the last daylight, a sharp-eyed observer might catch a glimpse of white armpits, indicating that this is no barn bat or attic bat. This is an eastern red bat. [Read more…] about Migrating Eastern Red Bats
Help Protect New York’s Bat Populations During Bat Week
Bat Week is an internationally recognized celebration of the important role bats play in our environment. It is a great time to appreciate New York’s nine bat species. Bat Week is observed October 24th through 31st. [Read more…] about Help Protect New York’s Bat Populations During Bat Week
International Bat Appreciation Day is Sunday
International Bat Day is a great time to appreciate New York’s nine bat species.
When spring temperatures become warm enough, bats will leave their hibernation sites and may be seen flying in search of insects. Unfortunately, many species of bats, including little brown bats, have faced severe population declines due to White-nose Syndrome. [Read more…] about International Bat Appreciation Day is Sunday
Bats Prepare for Winter
Years ago, I visited two Vermont caves in winter to help biologists count hibernating bats. After descending through a hole into the first cave, I immediately noticed that it was much warmer than above ground. The cave was also more humid, and I could hear the steady drip of water.
We walked quietly into the darkness and shone our lights at the cave roof. Bats hung upside down singly and in clusters, wings wrapped around furry bodies and feet clinging to the ceiling. These bats would spend the entire winter immobile, except for brief periods of arousal, when they might change position in the cave. [Read more…] about Bats Prepare for Winter
Bat Week: Two More Caveless, Summer-Only Bats
The hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus) and the silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans) are caveless, summer-only bats and also our only other chiropteran residents that have striking coloration.
Size is relative. To my cat, I am rather large; to my dog, not so much. A blade of grass to an ant is like a small tree to you and me. So when I tell you that our largest bat, the hoary bat, has a wingspan of 15 to 16 inches and a body over six inches in length, you must realize that this is a significant bat, even if it weighs only about an ounce.
[Read more…] about Bat Week: Two More Caveless, Summer-Only Bats
Bat Week: New York’s Smallest Cave-Dwelling Bats
There are a number of species of cave bats in New York State, but today I am going to introduce you to just two: the eastern small-footed bat (Myotis leibii leibii) and the eastern pipistrelle (Pipistrellus subflavus).
The small-footed bat, as you no doubt guessed, is noted for its petite terminal appendages: it has small feet, only about six millimeters long. I’ve never seen any data on the size of other bats’ feet, but one must suppose that they are significantly larger with respect to the size of the bats in question. [Read more…] about Bat Week: New York’s Smallest Cave-Dwelling Bats
Bat Week: Little and Big Brown Bats
The little brown (Myotis lucifugus) and big brown (Eptesicus fuscus) bats are furry cave-dwellers who have been most heavily impacted by the fungus-based disease now known as white-nose syndrome (WNS).
Every hibernaculum in New York was diagnosed with the disease, and in some of the caves, these bats experienced over 90% mortality. It’s a sobering fact. [Read more…] about Bat Week: Little and Big Brown Bats
Bat Week: Keen’s and Long-Eared Myotis
Two bats that are often never mentioned (mostly because so few people have heard of them) are Keen’s myotis (Myotis keenii) and the northern long-eared myotis (Myotis septentrionalis). Both species have been found in New York State, but neither in great numbers.
The genus name, Myotis, is roughly translated as “mouse-eared bat”, and these days many of the Myotis bats are no longer referred to as “bats” per se, as in “little brown bat” and Keen’s bat.” Instead, the genus name is substituted as part of the common name. Thus, we now have “little brown myotis” (little brown mouse-eared bat) and Keen’s myotis (Keen’s mouse-eared bat). [Read more…] about Bat Week: Keen’s and Long-Eared Myotis
Bat Week: The Indiana Myotis
To the average person, an Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) is not a terribly impressive animal. It is a smallish, brownish bat, often mistaken for a little brown bat (another less-than-dazzling member of the clan).
A scientist in the know, however, can detect small differences to tell these species apart, such as the length of the toe hairs (I kid you not), the length of the ears, the color of the snout, the amount of shine to the fur, or the presence of a keel on the calcar (a spur of cartilage that gives some rigidity to the trailing edge of the wing membrane near the bat’s foot). [Read more…] about Bat Week: The Indiana Myotis
Celebrating Bat Week
Ah, October; the month when summer has truly fled and winter can be felt in the air. Leaves explode in color and then lose their grip on life. Geese and other waterfowl beat a hasty retreat for warmer climes.
Some flowers we typically see in the spring are apparently confused and put out a few end-of-season blossoms. And everywhere we turn, yards and businesses are decorated for Halloween. [Read more…] about Celebrating Bat Week