Host: Tom Counts and Alison Cochran (USFS).

The Bankhead National Forest (National Forests in Alabama), in partnership with Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources – Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries, hosted the 7th Annual SBDN Bat Blitz in Northwest Alabama during August 10 – 14. To kick-off the event, ADCNR-WFF non-game biologist Keith Hudson led a field trip to Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge for an emergence of approximately 100,000 gray bats. Over 75 participants, including agency, university, non-governmental organizations, and consultant biologists and volunteers from 18 states surveyed bats at 30 sites during the 3-night inventory effort. Surveys included mist-netting, harp trapping at 2 caves, and an acoustic inventory on Lewis Smith Lake. Seven species and 385 individual bats were collected, including 16 Indiana bats and one gray bat. Common species captured were red bat, northern long-eared bat, evening bat, Eastern pipistrelle and big brown bats.

Data collected will aid Forest Service in restoration and management of native forest types and in protection and restoration of rare communities, including caves, for endangered bats.

Sponsors of the 2008 Bat Blitz were the US Forest Service, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Alabama Power Company, and the Winston County Natural Resources Council.

News links: Times DailyMontgomery AdvertiserDecatur DailyCBS 42 Bat Blitz News (wmv 7.4 MB). Our thanks to Tim Carter for providing this video.

Photos: 2008 Blitz and more photos from Joy O’Keefe.

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