As Halloween approaches, images of scary bats become commonplace.  This is the perfect time of year to counter bat myths and do something to help bats, by taking part in International Bat Week (October 24-31). Bat Week is all about appreciating these amazing animals and their benefits. Our bats are tremendous consumers of insects and spread nutrients through our forests via their droppings or guano. Bats in southern climates are crucial for pollinating flowers and spreading seeds and nutrients. 

Bat Week marks the time of year when bats disappear from our neighbourhoods until the return of warmer weather in spring. As insect eaters, our BC bats must leave their summer roost sites and migrate or hibernate to survive the winter. This absence means that this is the time of year to do home renovations that you have delayed due to bat presence. You can clean out and repair a bat box or do bat-friendly exclusion work without disturbing or injuring bats.   

Visit a “Bat Cave”   

Take this time to learn about the many ways bats contribute to our lives, and what you can do locally for bats. In celebration of Bat Week, the Mayne Island Conservancy will be creating a bat cave display (hibernaculum) at the Agricultural Hall grounds (430 Fernhill Road) using the band shell. This display will be open to everyone with displays and information about the bats of Mayne Island, about the Conservancy’s Bat Conservation Program, and other bat related activities. The display will be open every day from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm with a Bat Ambassador available from 1:00 pm to 3:00 PM daily. On October 31, it will have an extended opening to 6:30 pm. Come on down and find out about these fantastic animals with which we share the island. 

Hoary Bat
Hoary Bat. Photo: John Longhenry, Creative Commons

Learn About Bats

For broader information about bats in general go to www.batweek.org or the BC Community Bat Program at www.bcbats.ca. Research bats online, watch a bat cam (e.g. https://batworld.org/bat-cams/), learn about bat-friendly community initiatives, clean and maintain your bat box for next spring… there are many ways to participate and support bats. 

“Bats in BC help control agricultural and forest pests, as well as mosquitoes in our yards – but now bats need our help” says Mandy Kellner, Coordinator for the BC Community Bat Program. “The conservation of bats in BC has always been important, since over half the species in this province are considered at risk. With the continuing spread of White-nose Syndrome in Washington State, bat conservation is more important than ever as we expect to see impacts in BC in the near future. ” 

Report Winter Bats

If you do see a bat in winter, please report it to ed@mayneconservancy.ca . Monitoring for white-nose syndrome in BC will continue this winter, with Community Bat Programs requesting reports of dead bats or sightings of winter bat activity.  

A Community Effort

The Mayne Island Bat Conservation Program is made possible through a partnership with the BC Ministry of Environment, and funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Forest Enhancement Society of BC, Habitat Stewardship Program, and the Canada Summer Jobs Program. The BC Community Bat Program, which the Conservancy is a part, provides information and promotes local stewardship and citizen science. Find out more about the BC Community Bat Program, Bat Week activities, and options for helping local bat populations, at www.bcbats.ca, info@bcbats.ca, or 1-855-922-2287.


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