Hosts: Mary Kay Clark (NC Museum of Natural Sciences), Matina Kalcounis-Rüppell (UNC-Greensboro) and Joy O’Keefe (Clemson University).

The third annual Bat Blitz was held from 1-5 August 2004 in the Uwharrie National Forest and the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, an area lacking baseline data of bat distribution and abundance. Forty-seven volunteers came from 11 states, including Michigan, California, New Mexico, and Texas.

Eleven experienced bat biologists each led teams of 1-6 volunteers to conduct mist net surveys at over 30 sites in three counties. Each team had standardized kits for collecting tissue, fecal samples, and echolocation reference calls. Seventy-seven bats representing five species were captured: red bats (Lasiurus borealis), evening bats (Nycticeius humeralis), Seminole bats (L. seminolus), big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus), and eastern pipistrelles (Pipistrellus subflavus). We saw evidence and recorded echolocation calls of two other species: Brazilian free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) and southeastern bats (Myotis austroriparius).

Data collected at the Blitz were used for local studies of the effects of water quality on foraging behavior of bats in Piedmont watersheds. The Bat Blitz was covered in local and statewide papers and featured as a four minute CNN television piece.

Major monetary and logistic sponsors of the event included Beth Haltiwanger Retreat Cente, Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Friends of the Pee Dee NWR, Land Trust of Central NC, NC Museum of Natural Sciences, NC State Parks, University of NC-Greensboro, Clemson University, and the U.S. Forest Service.

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Photos: Joy O’Keefe’s Picasaweb. — Joe Szewczak’s 2004 and 2005 Bat Blitzes.

More about this event: CNNIndependent WeeklyHerald Tribune.