Sing, sing a song…

Baturday News is a weekly blog written by Rachael, a high school student, bat advocate, and Save Lucy volunteer. Rachael’s interest in bats was sparked by the big brown bats that used the outside of her former home for a winter roost.

A photograph of a greater sac winged bat
A greater sac winged bat (Saccopteryx bilineata). Image source

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week! I am very exited because it is supposed to snow on Monday and Tuesday. I have been waiting all winter for some snow and had almost given up all hope, when I found out that we are going to get an actual storm. We could get anywhere from 6-11 inches. I am obviously hoping for the 11 inches. That is enough to shut down the entire DC area for days! Wish me luck! ?

I read a very interesting article about bats singing. Apparently, some bats actually sing songs. Scientists look at the sounds animals make and decide if the sounds qualify as singing based on the function of the sound and the complexity of the structure of the sounds. While a lot of animals make sounds that are obviously used to communicate, only a few kinds of animals actually sing songs.

Scientists have studied the sounds of 50 bat species. They knew that bats chirp, warble and trill to attract mates and defend their territories, but after studying the sounds of these bat species, they have decided that 20 of them sing. Since most of the sounds bats make are ultrasonic, scientists needed to slow down their vocalizations so they could hear them. What they discovered was that some bats sing songs that are as complex as those of songbirds.

There is one bat that sings songs at a frequency that humans can hear. The song of the greater sac-winged bat (Saccopteryx bilineata) can be heard from over one hundred meters away. They live in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. Scientists have discovered that these bats even learn their songs the same way that songbirds learn, by imitating their parents. Apparently, their pups “babble” sounds just like songbird chicks and human babies.

If you would like to read the article, you can find it here.

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