Hosts: Katrina Morris and Nikki Castleberry (Georgia Department of Natural Resources) and Ruth Stokes (USFS).
More than 100 bat biologists, researchers, managers and students converged at
Fort Mountain State Park July 25th – July 29, 2010 for the Southeastern Bat Diversity
Network’s 9th Annual Bat Blitz. Seventy-six volunteers representing 34 agencies,
corporations, universities and organizations traveled from 19 states including Illinois,
Indiana, Michigan, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin. Participants volunteered their time and
shared survey equipment to conduct a landscape-scale survey for bats in the
Chattahoochee National Forest and adjacent state and federal lands.
The event began with an education night on Sunday, July 25th with nearly 100
people attending the event. The evening began with displays and activities for kids
presented by Bat Conservation International, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Habitat for Bats, Southeastern Cave Conservancy, United States Forest Service, and other presenters.
Vicky Smith from A-Z Animals gave a general bat
presentation and SBDN President Dr. Darren Miller (Weyerhaeuser Corporation) followed
with a program on Bat Conservation in Georgia. Park visitors then enjoyed an
echolocation game followed by mist-netting and Anabat demonstrations.
Thirty-four sites were sampled over a 3-night period. Net sites were located
inside Fort Mountain State Park, surrounding lands within the Chattahoochee National
Forest and Carters Lake area (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), state lands and other sites
in Gilmer, Fannin, and Murray counties, Georgia. Surveys were conducted in
oak-hickory-pine and southern mixed hardwood forest types along mountain streams,
trails, road corridors and flyways near a gated mine. Bats were captured using a variety
of mist nets configurations. Data collected from each bat included species, sex, age,
weight, forearm length, reproductive condition and an examination of wing membrane
surfaces for signs of White Nose Syndrome. United States Fish and Wildlife Service and
Georgia Department of Natural Resources protocols for disinfection between bats and
between netting sites were followed.
During three nights of sampling, often between rain and lightening events,
participants captured 292 bats representing 9 species. Species captured included 89
northern long-eared bats (Myotis septentrionalis), 41 big brown bats
(Eptesicus fuscus), 73 red bats (Lasiurus borealis), 9 little brown bats
(M. lucifugus), 65 tri-colored bats (Perimyotis subflavus), 7 evening bats
(Nycticeius humeralis), 1 hoary bat (L. cinereus), 5 small-footed myotis
(M. leibii, species of concern), and 2 gray bats (M. grisescens, Federally
Wing-punch samples were taken from many bats on behalf of the American Museum of Natural History and fecal samples
were collected for dietary analysis. Occurrence data will be used to make informed
management decisions and provide baseline data for the area sampled.
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