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

Don’t let mosquitoes take a bite out of summer enjoyment

Tips from Interior Health to limit the mosquito problem

Mercury rises in the Okanagan-Shuswap

Temperatures reach about 36 C with humidex in the Okanagan and Shuswap

Stay safe in the heat

Hot sun can cause burns and life-threatening illness

Commercial/residential development planned for foreshore

Salmon Arm project near regional district building goes to hearing

Marijuana to be legal in Canada Oct. 17: Trudeau

Prime Minister made the announcement during question period in the House of Commons

VIDEO: Vernon-area students read for rank

RCMP visited JW Inglis on Wednesday as part of the Read with Me and the RCMP program.

New Jersey forward Taylor Hall wins Hart Trophy as NHL MVP

Vancouver’s Sedin brothers share King Clancy Award for humanitarian efforts

Unfiltered: IPAs explained with Cannery Brewing brewmaster

Checking out the new IPA created by Penticton brewery Cannery Brewing Company

Man gets 2 years in prison for assault on Okanagan Correctional officer

Union rep said inmate sucker punched correctional officer, continued assault after officer fell

50 new fires sparked in B.C. after lightning strikes across province

Similar conditions seen at the beginning of 2017 wildfire season

B.C. woman graduates high school at age 92

Nanaimo’s Joan Deebank the oldest high school graduate ever in B.C., as far as ministry can confirm

B.C. Appeal Court rules lottery winner must be paid back $600,000 loan

Enone Rosas won $4.1 million in a lottery in 2007 and loaned a portion to a friend

B.C. man surprised after used needle falls from sky

A Vernon resident said a syringe fell out of the sky and landed at his feet

Liquor review finds issues with B.C. wholesale monopoly

Report calls for ‘conflict of interest’ in system to be fixed

Most Read