Keeping track of bats in the Okanagan

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

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

15-year-old boy drowns after midnight jump into Okangan Lake

The RCMP and BC Coroners Service are investigating the drowning.

Okanagan dancing to the beat of many drums at the Pow Wow Between the Lakes

Day two of the Pow Wow Between the Lakes featured a vast array of dancers of all ages

Summerland cannabis shop receives approval in principle

Inspection now required before Green Gaia may sell cannabis

Kelm wins Okanagan Ogopogo tubbing championship

Robbie Kelm edged out Dr. Lloyd Westby to take the Great Ogopogo Bathtub race title

Osoyoos woman who threatened mom and baby with butcher knife sentenced

Sharon Constance Forner pleaded guilty to one criminal charge and was sentenced

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Auntie Says: A different spin on to the bullying problem

Faye Arcand is a freelance writer living in the South Okanagan

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Most Read