Just a little bit louder now…

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. Rachael has been writing the Baturday News for over three years.

A cartoon of a bat asking another bat How about now? Can you hear me now?"Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good week. I am very excited that school is almost over! YAY! I only have a few more finals and projects to do and then I can relax over the summer. I cannot wait to sleep late.

I am also really happy because bat baby season is here! That’s right, soon a whole bunch of cute little baby bats will be fluttering around. I can’t wait to see all of them learning to fly. I hope I get to see some soon.

I found an interesting article on bat vocalization. You know how people and animals raise their voices when they want to be heard in a noisy environment? It is a reflex response to the background noise and takes less than a second to happen. Researchers decided to study this in bats because their vocalizations are so special. Bats make high-frequency chirps that cannot be heard by the human ear. The sounds are quick and precise and ideal for studying.

The researchers discovered that it took only 30 milliseconds for the bat to respond to the background noise and start chirping louder. 30 milliseconds is faster than it takes to blink your eyes! The involuntary tendency to raise your voice when speaking around something loud is called the Lombard effect. Their study taught them a lot about the Lombard effect. They concluded that it was a fundamental temporal reflex in bats.

I thought the way they did their experiment was interesting. They trained the bats to perch while echolocating on insects while they changed the background noise. I would like to point out how smart the little bats must be. Not all animals can be trained like that.

Scientists believe that the information learned in these studies can be used to find better treatments for diseases where the Lombard effect is amplified, like Parkinson’s. The study also helps explain how hearing is connected to voice.

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

I hope to see some of you at the library tomorrow. I will be at the Woodridge Neighborhood Library in Washington, DC at 2:00. And, sure, I’ll sign autographs! 


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