Volunteers needed to monitor bats this summer

UNDATED – Volunteers are needed to help monitor bats across Indiana.

There are multiple opportunities – Summer Bat Roost Monitoring Project. The Summer Bat Roost Monitoring Project uses volunteers to collect information on the distribution, occupancy, and abundance of bat colonies throughout Indiana.  Participants must have bats roosting on their property or permission to enter the property where a roost occurs. Possible roost sites include trees, bat houses, barns, attics, outbuildings, and other structures. On each night of surveying, volunteers count the bats that exit the roost and record weather information. Each survey takes about an hour and is conducted on eight to 12 nights from mid-May to mid-July.

Mobile Acoustic Bat Surveys (including property acoustic surveys) were developed as a non-invasive method to monitor the statewide distribution and relative abundance of bat populations in their summer range. Bats maneuver through their environment and detect prey using echolocation, a process in which they emit ultrasonic sound waves and listening for the echo to return. Project personnel use an ultrasonic bat detector and vehicle-mounted microphone to record echolocation calls emitted by bats in the environment. Surveyors drive a predetermined route (15–25 miles in length) shortly after sunset when bats become active. Surveys are conducted two times in a given area across a six week survey period that begins in June and ends in mid-July. The same routes are surveyed each summer, allowing biologists to monitor multiple species of bats through time and across the state.

Summer 2021 will mark the second year of bat monitoring using the framework set by the North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat).

The map above indicates areas from Indiana where volunteers are most needed for acoustic monitoring.

Participation in these programs is a great way to learn more about Indiana’s only flying mammals, dispel myths about bats, and provide valuable roosting habitat for bats in urban landscapes. 

Supplies and equipment are limited.

If you are interested in participating, email helpbats@dnr.IN.gov with your preferred contact method and the programs that you would like to participate in.

Summer bat monitoring projects are supported in part by the Indiana Nongame Wildlife Fund.