Do you have bats on your property? Have you seen them entering or exiting their daytime roosts?
The Mayne Island Community Bat Conservation Program is looking for roosting colony sites for our Annual Bat Count. Currently we know of only one roost colony, and we are looking for more on Mayne Island.
Bats are an important part of our local ecosystem—these flying mammals can eat a thousand insects per hour!
If you have a bat roost on your property—a tree or a structure where you have seen at least five bats emerging at twilight—please contact us. You can send us a message through this website, reach us at 250-539-5168, stop by our Farmers’ Market table, or stop by our office located upstairs at the Root Seller.
The Annual Bat Count is a project that aims to collect baseline data on bat populations, in anticipation of the devastating White Nose Syndrome fungal disease affecting bats in the province.
“White Nose Syndrome is estimated to have killed more than seven million bats since it was first discovered in eastern North America a decade ago,” says Mandy Kellner, provincial coordinator of the BC Community Bat Program. “In March 2016, the disease was detected just east of Seattle, and has now spread within Washington State. This has greatly increased our urgency to understand bat populations in BC. We need the public’s help to census local bat populations – we never know when it is our last year to obtain population estimates before White Nose Syndrome causes widespread declines in western North America.”
The counts are easy and low-stress for homeowners. Our Conservancy summer staff simply wait outside a known roost site, such as a bat-house, barn, bridge or attic, and count bats as they fly out at twilight. We also have access to digital recording equipment that allows us to get a preliminary identification of the species by their sounds. Conservancy bat counters will note the number seen, along with basic information on weather conditions. Ideally, they’ll do one or two counts between June 1 and 21 before pups are born, and one or two more between July 11 and August 5, when pups are flying.
We know relatively little about the bats on Mayne Island; we lack basic information on population numbers.
Finding and monitoring more roosts will be essential for us to gather this information annually.
The Conservancy receives partial funding through the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation and the Forest Enhancement Society of BC. We are also supported by the Federal Summer Jobs Program, the BC Conservation Foundation and the Province of BC.
If you are interested in donating to this project, to help us understand our local wildlife (and provide valuable experience to summer students,) we would be most grateful for your support.