Keeping track of bats in the Okanagan

Seeking bat colonies and volunteers for B.C. bat counts

  • May. 28, 2018 7:03 a.m.

How many bats are out there in the Okanagan?

That’s what the B.C. Community Bat Program for the Okanagan region seeking to track with the annual bat count, and their looking for both bat colonies and volunteers.

A Townsend’s big-eared bat is one of the species people may encounter. S. Laughlin photo

This citizen-science initiative encourages residents to count bats at local roost sites.

“Bat counts are a wonderful way for residents to get involved in collecting important scientific information,” said ecologist Paula Rodriguez de la Vega, Okanagan co-ordinator for the program. “No special skills are needed, you can be any age, and you can relax in a deck chair while counting.”

The annual bat count will collect baseline data on bat populations before the devastating White Nose Syndrome fungal disease affects bats in the province.

“White Nose Syndrome is estimated to have killed more than seven million bats since it was first discovered in eastern North America a decade ago,” said Rodriguez de la Vega, adding that the disease started spreading through Washington State in March 2016, when it was detected just east of Seattle.

“This has greatly increased our urgency to understand bat populations in B.C. We need the public’s help to census local bat populations. We never know when it is our last year to obtain population estimates before White Nose Syndrome causes widespread declines in western North America.”

Related: Researchers watching for spread of white nose syndrome

Counts are easy. Volunteers wait outside a known roost site, such as a bat-house, barn, bridge or attic and count bats as they fly out at twilight. They record the final number along with basic information on weather conditions. Ideally, one or two counts are done between June 1 and 21 before pups are born and one or two more between July 11 and Aug. 5 when pups are flying.

“We know relatively little about bats in the Okanagan and Similkameen, including basic information on population numbers,” said Rodriguez de la Vega. “This information will be extremely valuable, particularly if it is collected annually. If people want to get involved but don’t have a roost site on their property, we will try to match them with a roost site nearby.”

To find out more about bat counts, or to get assistance dealing with bat issues, visit www.bcbats.ca or call 1-855-9BC-BATS, ext.13.


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or message me on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Just Posted

Ministry denies request for air quality monitoring in Revelstoke

Revelstoke City Council’s request that an air quality monitoring system be re-established… Continue reading

City of Revelstoke and CSRD reach fire protection agreement

A new fire protection agreement has been negotiated between the City of… Continue reading

Cost to Revelstoke taxpayers as well as developers affected by proposed bylaw

If the tabled Development Cost Charge bylaw is passed sewer user costs will increase dramatically

Sinatra tribute band coming to Revelstoke Golf and Country Club

Toronto-based tenor Dan Lauzon has had a long and illustrious career as… Continue reading

Okanagan’s smoke filled skies toxic to pets

Pet owners should take extra precautions with pets until smoke dissipates

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

More than 800,000people have been displaced by floods and landslides

IndyCar driver Wickens flown to hospital after scary crash

IndyCar said Wickens was awake and alert as he was taken to a hospital

Ex-BCTF president ‘undeterred’ after early release from pipeline protest jail term

Susan Lambert and Order of Canada recipient Jean Swanson released early

Air support grounded as fires fill the skies with smoke

Update Aug. 19 1:25 p.m. A majority of air support is still… Continue reading

Crews continue extinguish Snowy Mountain Wildfire

The 13,359 hectare wildfire is classified as held

Smoky skies means stay inside, according to Interior Health

The air quality in the Okanagan is considered a high risk

Flights from Kelowna International Airport affected by wildfire smoke

Passengers are being asked to check their flight’s status before arriving

Work continues on Monashee Complex wildfires

Crews will be assisted by helicopters if flying conditions improve

Most Read