Volunteers participated in the first official bat count at the Peachland Primary School Tuesday night.
Factors such as participation, cloud cover, temperature, and wind were documented in addition to the number of bats exiting the roost within a one hour time frame. Eight hundred eighty-nine bats were counted using handheld tally counters by half the volunteers, and manual tallying by the others.
Jim Stuart said it was difficult to count accurately even with the hand clicker. The bats were very noisy then swarmed in intervals. The largest numbers exited at the two front dormers from 9:15 to 9:50 p.m.
According to the Kootenay Community Bat Project, half the bat species in BC are considered vulnerable or threatened to becoming endangered and even the common little brown bat is being proposed as an endangered species federally. Monitoring bat colonies gives biologists a better idea of how bat populations are doing from year to year. With the occurrence of White-nose Syndrome in North America, monitoring these colonies is more important than ever.
Peachland will conduct three additional counts. The next count is Monday, June 18 at 8:45 p.m. The following two counts will be between July 21 and August 15, when the pups are flying and exiting the roost.
Dates are not available at this time. Anyone interested in collecting valuable information to help monitor our bat population can register at the visitor centre.
Appreciation is extended to those assisting in this project.
– Darlene Hartford