Acoustic bat monitoring

Bat map 2017.6.2As part of a program offered by the North Lakeland Discovery Center, Michael and I have become volunteer bat monitors for the Wisconsin Bat Program. On the night of June 2 we took a slow ride around the perimeter of the lake while using a handheld bat detector. Each species of bat has a different high-frequency call which can be heard by the detector. By looking at the frequency, shape and other characteristics of calls, the software in the detector can identify the species of bat that was recorded.

Yesterday we received the mapped results of our survey, and here is what we found! Even though we didn’t see or hear any bats as we trolled along the shore, it turns out that there were quite a few around.

Bats are fascinating animals that are vital to the environment. They eat tons of insects nightly, saving farmers billions of dollars in pest control every year. They benefit our forests by pollinating a variety of flowering plants and spreading seeds that grow new trees. It’s good to know that Lake of the Falls supports a small population of bats, including Little Brown Bats, which are now on the Threatened list due to white-nose syndrome.

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