Want to sit outside at dusk, enjoy a Vancouver Island sunset, and help our bat population too?
Then you might want to contact Habitat Acquisition Trust, and volunteer as a bat counter.
“Well, this is guano from the bats…
“Before we had the bat boxes, it was all the way along here…
Yup! ‘Bat poop’ is the kind of thing you talk about with Mary Haig-Brown, who’s passionate about the little flying mammals.
“Well, we had the bats for quite a while” says Haig-Brown, “and then we heard that HAT was counting and interested in bats, I was delighted to have them come.
“It’s been about four years that they’ve been coming.”
HAT is Habitat Acquisition Trust, a non-profit supporting habitat conservation on Southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
Jill Robinson is Habitat Acquisition Trust’s Stewardship Coordinator. “Bats play a really important role in our ecosystem…
“They eat lots of mosquitoes, thousands of mosquitoes every night, so it’s a great control for pests.
“And we’ve been doing a lot of work throughout the community,” explains Robinson “working with homeowners and private land owners that have bats on their own properties, providing habitat for them, as well as counting bats at these different locations.”
Because our bats are in danger.
“There’s a disease emerging from the east called White Nose Syndrome” says Wildlife Biologist Christian Englestoft.
“It was first detected in the east back in 2007, and it’s wiped out about 6-million bats back east…”
HAT needs your help counting bats to learn if White Nose Syndrome has hit the west coast.
Robinson says that “you don’t have to have a background in bat biology, we can train you on the right protocol, and have you counting bats.”
“We meet just before sunset,” adds Englestoft “and then you start to count at the official sunset.”
Mary Haig-Brown describes the delight she experiences as her bats emerge at dusk.
“When they come out at night, it’s just “whish…whish…whish…”
Haig-Brown counts bats flying from the eaves, and bat boxes on her property.
“It’s not a huge commitment, just four nights a year, that’s hardly huge.”
HAT also placed an audio box in Haig-Brown’s roof, to record bat calls and learn more about the colonies on her property.
“It’s so interesting to be part of some kind of ground breaking research for this area.” gushes Haig-Brown.
“I love it! I just love it!”
Click here to learn more, if you’d like to be a hat bat counter.