Bat Talk November 12

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I went to this with mom. Since Rachael wasn’t there to blog, I’ll blog for her (with Mom’s help for typing).

It was pretty cool, except that Mr. Reynolds talked fast and we didn’t get to see any real bats. But for a talk meant for grown ups, it was great.

Mr. Reynolds talked about bats that are found in Virginia: there are 18 recorded species found here, and 15 are found regularly. There are 3 species that are tree bats: the hoary bat, the silver bat, and the red bat. The rest are cave bats. Some tree bats have the spores for the WNS fungus, maybe because they went into caves and hung out with an already sick colony. But cave bats have it the worst with WNS. Mr. Reynolds said that his group studied maternity colonies of Little Brown bats in barns. In just over two years, one colony went down to zero or one bat from 5,000 or more… This is crazy! He had a table with data about lots of different colonies and the news was pretty sad. Four of the six colonies went to zero in just two years, and the other two barely survived! 🙁

One weird fact: Mr. Reynolds said that WNS has hit so hard that there are now so few bats to carry the fungus around that we may see a bounce back in the numbers of some species because there are fewer bats to spread it around. I hope that could be good news for bats. My dad says that WNS may be a victim of its own success. Haha and boo on WNS!

Mr. Reynolds also talked about windmills for wind energy. Energy-wise, wind turbines are good for the environment, but less good for the animals, especially bats. Wind turbines create heat, so that might draw insects and then bats (mostly tree bats) fly up to eat and get hit by the wind turbines’ blades. The good news is that there is research that tells us good information about how to help bats that roost near turbines.

Thanks for reading! TMC

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