The Ohio Bat Working Group and Five Rivers MetroParks hosted the first ever summer blitz.
About the Blitz
Over two nights in late August, nine teams set up mist nets to capture bats in various locations around Germantown MetroPark.
The goal of the blitz was to survey in a short period of time Ohio bat populations, especially in areas of the state where information is lacking, such as Southwest Ohio.
“All bats in Ohio are species of concern, and several species are endangered,” said Marne Titchenell, wildlife program specialist for Ohio State University Extension and co-director and committee member of The Ohio Bat Working Group. “The more information we have on our species, the better we can work to conserve their populations and habitat needs.”
The teams captured 97 bats representing 7 species, including three state-listed species (little brown bat, tricolored bat, and Indiana bat), one federally listed species (Indiana bat), and a possible state record (Seminole bat). The teams attached temporary transmitters to the three female Indiana bats that were captured, so biologists could track them to their roost trees.
“Indiana bat females live in maternity colonies during the summer, so it was very exciting to find that one bat returned to a colony with 135 bats, and another returned to a colony of 60 bats!” Titchenell shared.
Five Rivers Metroparks staff will continue to monitor the roost trees into the future, providing valuable information to help support their populations and guide habitat management.
The Bat Blitz not only surveyed the bat population in the area - it also provided an opportunity for the public to learn more about and observe bats. Five Rivers MetroParks organized several outreach programs for teachers, families, college students, and park visitors, who were able to visit the education nets. Titchenell spent two nights at the education netting site, along with other members of The Ohio Bat Working Group.
"It was great to be able to share with folks how we research and collect data on bats. We caught two big brown bats the first night and were able to show them to many adults and kids that had never seen a real bat before – watching their faces light up when we brought the bats out was my favorite part of the event!" Titchenell said.