Spring is here, with rain, flowers, insects – and bats! As Sunshine Coast bats return to their summer roosts, June 1 to 21 marks the first counting period of the Annual BC Bat Count. The Sunshine Coast Wildlife Project is requesting bat roost reports and volunteer assistance for this important citizen-science initiative.
The Bat Count provides a wonderful opportunity for people to get outside, learn about bats, and help collect valuable scientific information. Volunteers simply wait outside known roost sites and count bats as they fly out at twilight.
Community members who would like to volunteer to count bats can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-989-1007. Residents are also asked to please report any known bat colonies in sites like barns, attics, roofs, siding, or bat boxes.
Bat Count data helps biologists understand bat species distribution and monitor for impacts of the devastating bat disease called white-nose syndrome. This introduced fungal disease is fatal for bats but not for other animals or humans. It continues to spread in Washington State, less than 100 km from the B.C. border. Results from the bat count may help prioritize areas for treatment and recovery actions.
Bat stewardship efforts on the Sunshine Coast are funded by the Habitat Stewardship Program, Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Forest Enhancement Society of BC, and Gencon Foundation. As part of the BC Community Bat Program, with support from the BC Conservation Foundation and the Province of BC, the Wildlife Project works to monitor bat populations and provide information for people dealing with bat issues on their property or who wish to attract bats. For more information, please visit www.bcbats.ca or www.coastwildlife.ca.