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Northeast Bat
Working Group

2007 Annual Meeting

Please plan to join us for the 2007 NEBWG meeting in North Branch, New Jersey. The meeting will include two days of presentations of projects by various bat researchers of regional interest. We expect presentations on new Indiana bat roosts, spring, summer and, yes, fall Ibat telemetry, and wind power sampling results and direction.

Meeting Dates: 9-11 January 2007

To facilitate planning and logistics, pre-registration is requested! Please download the MS Word form here and return it promptly! You may pre-register until January 5.

Location:

Maps and directions are available to the Raritan Valley Community College. This location is conveniently located in central NJ close to Routes 78 & 287. There are detailed directions located on page 2 of the registration form.

Motel: Block of rooms reserved for NEBWG at Days Inn in Bridgewater for $65/night (excluding tax). The Days Inn is 10 minutes from RVCC.

Make hotel reservations through Pola Galie, pola.galie@dep.state.nj.us or 609-984-6012, not the hotel.

Days Inn Bridgewater Conference Center Somerville Area
1260 US Rte 22 East
Bridgewater, NJ 08807 US
Phone: 908-526-9500

Activities/Agenda:
Tuesday, January 9
12:00 High Noon, RVCC Conference Center
Registration open

2:00 PM, RVCC Conference Center
Meeting opens, followed by state reports

After meeting-meeting theme: "Doom Night"
1. Program on cave/mine safety presented by NJ Initial Response Team (Search and Rescue)

2. Viewing of "An Inconvenient Truth"
Exact times and locations to be announced.

Wednesday, January 10
8:30 AM, RVCC Conference Center
Meeting resumes

After meeting-meeting
1. Trip to Leigh Cave in NJ led by John Gumbs
Max. 10 people; need helmet and headlamp; approx. 15 minute drive; natural cave with approx. 300-400 bats; visitors will get muddy. Sign up sheets Wednesday only. Limited availability!

2. Viewing of "IMAX: Journey into Amazing Caves"
Exact times and locations to be announced.

Thursday, January 11
12:00 High Noon, RVCC Conference Center
Meeting closes

After meeting-meeting
Trip to the Great Swamp NWR for a midday tour of Indiana bat roosts discovered during 2006 radio telemetry projects. You'll be sick of shagbark hickory before this is over. Look for updated caravan/carpool/meet information Wednesday afternoon during the regular meeting. Unlimited space.

Download the 2007 registration form MS Word file and register via email!
NEBWG 2006 Lehigh Gorge Tunnel field trip participants
2006 NEBWG field trip to the Lehigh Gorge Tunnel
EPTFUS in the Lehigh Gorge Tunnel

Northeast Bat Working Group 2007 Presentations
(*) denotes designated presenter. For information only- not necessarily in order of appearance. An agenda will be available for download here a few days before the meeting.

Individial state reports from ME, NH, CT, VT, MA, MD, NY, PA, NJ, VA, RI, DE, OH, WV, and others
Presented by an attendee representing their home state
Jacques P. Veilleux - New Hampshire; Melissa Craddock - New Jersey; Al Hicks - New York; Cal Butchkoski - Pennsylvania; Scott Darling - Vermont; Dana Limpert - Maryland; Karen Morris - Maine, Craig Stihler - West Virginia

Indiana Bat Telemetry Investigations in PA-2006
Cal Butchkoski*, Greg Turner, Pennsylvania Game Commission

In April 2006, a spring migration study was conducted on a female Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) exiting the Glen Lyon abandoned anthracite coalmine subsidence in Luzerne County. Initially 2 Luzerne County abandoned anthracite-mining sites were planned for trapping - the privately owned Glen Lyon Mine and the Shickshinny Mine located on State Game Lands 260. Once trapping began, the Glen Lyon site became the focus due to manpower needs in processing the large captures there. Trapping occurred on 12 April (both sites) and 13 April resulting in captures of 3,103 bats: 3,013 little browns (Myotis lucifugus); 85 northern long-eareds (Myotis septentrionalis); 1 Indiana bat; and 4 big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus). The single Indiana bat (7g) was captured the first evening (12 April), banded using an orange celluloid band with the inscription 101PA, induced into torpor, and held for release the next evening in hopes that more female Indiana bats would be captured the second night. The second evening (13 April) resulted in no Indiana bat captures. Bat number 101PA was then radio-tagged, released, and intensively followed with aircraft and ground support, arriving at her summer habitat in Berks County during the early morning of 16 April, 90 km from the hibernaculum in Luzerne County. When surveyors were confident she had settled in the area, 5 nights of intensive triangulation telemetry were conducted resulting in a minimum convex polygon (MCP) of 20.78 hectares using 64 foraging telemetry points. During this 5-day period she used 3 different shagbark hickory (Carya ovata) trees. On 17 July 2006 the summer habitat found was mist netted resulting in captures of 3 Indiana bats which were: A 8.1 g, post-lact. female, weighing 8.1 g; a juvenile non-reproductive male, 6.1g; and lactating female, 7.5 g. The heavier female (8.1 g) was banded (15PA), and radio-tagged to monitor habitat utilization. She used 3 different foraging/activity areas. Two roost trees were located, both of which were shagbark hickories. Emergence counts indicate that this bat was roosting alone during this time period.

On 19 September 2006 a male Indiana bat (8.4 g) was banded (17PA) and radio-tagged during the fall swarm at an abandoned limestone mine in Armstrong County. Upon release (01:30, 20 Sept.) the animal traveled ~9 miles northwest to a staging/foraging area. During 6 nights of monitoring, it visited the mine once (after capture) and returned to the staging/foraging area again that same night. Day roosts used included an occupied building attic and dead red maple trees (Acer rubrum) with exfoliating bark. Emergence counts indicated this bat was roosting alone.

Two Mines and Ten Bats
John Chenger, Bat Conservation and Management, Inc.*, Keith Christenson, Melissa Craddock, Matthew Hopkins, Kait Frantz, William Machauer, Andy Pyle, Kevin Rhome, Chris Sanders, Annette Shearer, Todd Sinander, Leslie Sturgess, Jonathan Van De Venter

The Indiana Bat (IBAT) is a federally endangered species documented in 1995, as well as in 1997, as inhabiting and utilizing woodland habitat and structures on Picatinny Arsenal (PICA) property. This mammal has also been documented as a hibernating bat species in three local mine sites near PICA, Morris County, NJ. This project will entail trapping emerging female Indiana Bats (IBATs) from local winter hibernacula; and track migration flights via telemetry methods to locate likely summer roosts (or sites), whether on or beyond PICA property.

A total of ten bats were fitted with transmitters and released with hopes of finding one summer maternity roost. BCM obtained five Indiana bat samples from each of two hibernaculms near PICA, the Mount Hope Shaft West and Hibernia Mine. Three (3) bats were released from Mount Hope Shaft West on April 13, two (2) additional Mount Hope bats on April 14, and finally five (5) were released from Hibernia on April 15. As each bat was released, ground observers closely monitored the migration behavior for up to several hours. One Mount Hope bat was followed completely on the ground to an initial day roost. The remaining nine bats were initially lost at varying distances from the release points. Eight of the ten bats were ultimately recovered using a combination of coordinated ground and air radio telemetry. Each known bat location was field checked on a daily basis. Bats tended to switch roosts but never abandoned an area for the life of the transmitter. A total of twenty-one (21) day roosts were identified at distances ranging from 12.5 to 18 miles (20-29 km) from the hibernaculm. Four significant roosts were discovered containing more than 30 individuals. Large tracts of land were systematically searched multiple times in an effort to locate the remaining two bats. Approximately 1,395 linear miles (2,245 km) were searched by air encompassing 1,734 square miles (4,492 square km). Meanwhile, bats were monitored nightly and core foraging areas were observed for six of the eight initial bats.

Starting twenty days into the project on May 4, an effort was made to capture additional bats at the new roosts or in the newly discovered foraging areas. A selection of five Indiana bats from these sites were radio tracked for at least up to twenty-two days. Three trap sites produced thirty-five (35) additional Indiana bats, including thirty which were captured emerging from a private single family home. A selection of five Indiana bats from these sites were radio tracked for at least up to twenty-two days. Each known bat location was field checked on a daily basis. Bats tended to switch roosts and one may have abandoned the area as it could not be recovered. Night observations identified core foraging areas for the remaining four bats (Whitenack 2 & 3, Loantaka 2 & 3). All of the foraging areas were within 3.5 miles (5.6 km) of the roost areas. The four tracked bats used thirteen (13) different roosts between May 4-25, 2006.

This project demonstrates that a small number of migrating bats can be successfully tracked using a team of coordinated ground observers coupled with daylight air searches. The ground team provided night observations, detailed bat behavior, and initial migration direction. The ground team’s observations were used to specifically target aerial searches aiding with the efficient recovery of day roosts.

How to donate bats or tissue samples for permanent archiving and genetic analyses
Nancy B. Simmons, Department of Mammalogy, American Museum of Natural History

Tissue samples and dead bats collected in the field (including those found during surveys of mortality at wind farm sites) offer a unique resource for investigating population genetics and migratory habits of bats at local, regional, and even continental scales. To facilitate this work and provide a permanent home for specimens piling up in freezers, The American Museum of Natural History has set up a program for accepting donations of dead bats and/or portions of bats collected around the USA. All that we require is (1) copies of permits indicating that the specimens were acquired legally, (2) data on where and when they were collected, (3) the specimens themselves, and (4) title to the specimens so that we may provide samples to qualified researchers for scientific study. Frozen bats, dried carcasses, whole or partial skeletons, and tissue samples (e.g., wing punches) are all acceptable. We will provide tissue sample tubes for anyone interested in collecting tissue samples; otherwise it is probably easier to donate whole animals. AMNH staff will process incoming specimens and preserve them in an appropriate fashion depending upon nature of the sample (taxon, degree of decomposition, whole or partial specimen, etc.). Tissue samples will be deposited in our state-of –the-art cryo collections. All samples will be made broadly available to the scientific community for research. Donated samples will join the over 270,000 mammal specimens already in our collections and available through our website (http://research.amnh.org/mammalogy/index.php). To make the process of donating bat samples easy, in January we will launch a website providing instructions and outlining the goals of genetic studies now underway to assess the effects of wind farm mortalities on bat populations in North America. This website can be found at http://research.amnh.org/mammalogy/batgenetics.

Is capture in harp traps stressful to little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus)?
DeeAnn Reeder, Scott Wasilko, Cassandra Ostroski, Department of Biology, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA

Most capture methods for free-ranging mammals presumably elicit an acute stress response, as measured by elevations in the hormones cortisol and/or corticosterone. These hormones play a role in energy balance and rise within a few minutes in response to stressful conditions in order to help the animal physiologically and behaviorally deal with the stressor. Harp traps offer a presumably minimally restrictive method for the capture of bats in that they do not physically restrain the animal (as do mist nets or other trapping methods for non-volant mammals). We were interested in determining whether capture in harp traps elicits a stress response in bats. Following capture at dusk, a plastic sheet was extended over the top of the bag of each harp trap and bats were held for a period of time ranging from 1 minute to 20 minutes. At the end of this time period, bats were hand captured from the bag and a small blood sample was immediately collected by lancing a vein in the uropatagium. Plasma was separated immediately with a battery operated field centrifuge and frozen until analysis for hormones via enzymoimmunoassay. Results will be presented at the meeting.

Radio Telemetry Studies of the Small-footed Bat (Myotis leibii) in Pendleton County, West Virginia
Craig W. Stihler, WV Division of Natural Resources, Elkins, WV.

Little is known of the life history of Myotis leibii, one of the rarest bats in the eastern United States. Previous mist net surveys demonstrated that M. leibii, including reproductively active females, could be captured on North Fork Mountain, Pendleton County, WV. Thus, a radio telemetry study was initiated to obtain information on roost sites and, to a lesser extent, foraging habitats. M. leibii were radio tracked in either June or July of 1999, 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2006. A total of 12 adult bats (males and pregnant, lactating, post-lactating, and non-reproductive females) were tagging using eyelash adhesive to attach transmitters between the scapulae. Twenty-five roosts were identified, and all were in rock outcroppings or talus. Eight roosts were in extensive cliffs; the exact location of three of these roosts could not be determined. Seventeen roosts were located in talus, most commonly under slabs of rock. Talus roosts were usually in narrow fissures between rocks, perhaps providing some protection from timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) and Allegheny woodrats (Neotoma magister) which also inhabit these areas. Most roosts received full or nearly full solar exposure. Roosts that were shaded were used more often by females than males. Roost switching was noted for both male and female bats. Only one bat, a lactating female, was observed roosting with other M. leibii (two on one day and three on another). At night, the bats foraged within 2.5 km of their day roosts. Foraging areas were mostly forested, although there were small areas of grassy and old field habitats. The forest was largely dominated by Quercus spp. with scattered small patches of forest dominated by Pinus virgininana.

Evaluation of Bat Acoustic Monitoring Devices under Controlled Field Conditions
Kristen Watrous and Therese Donovan, USGS VT Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Doug Olufsen and Ruth Mickey, University of Vermont
Susi von Oettingen, US Fish and Wildlife Service
Scott Darling, Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife

Bats are one of the most common groups of mammals in the world, second only to rodents. In spite of their importance to ecosystem function, little is known about the spatial and temporal distribution of many, if not all, species of bats. Although some bat species occur in high abundances in parts of their range, their nocturnal activities render them difficult to monitor. Understanding the spatial and temporal distribution of bats has recently become an important priority for land managers and biologists throughout the world as energy use switches from fossil fuel to renewable energy sources such as wind power, which can increase mortality rates.

Acoustic technology is being used in pre-construction surveys at potential wind energy sites. The manufacturers of common acoustical units provide detailed specifications regarding unit performance so that users can make informed choices about which unit type or types should be used for surveying bats. However, manufacturer specifications are collected within controlled environments, and these specs may differ in real-world settings where a number of factors influence the ability of a device to record a sound.

In this study, we conducted field trials to assess and compare the performance of three commonly used acoustical units for monitoring bat distribution patterns: Pettersson D1000x (Pettersson Elecktronik AB, Uppsala, Sweden), Anabat II (Titley Electronics, Inc, Ballina, Australia), and AR125 (Binary Acoustic Technology, Inc, Arizona, USA) under different conditions. Two days of open area trials (556) and one day of closed area trials (288) were conducted. Preliminary results indicate that detection rates decreased with increasing distance, increasing angle, vegetation and higher frequencies. Conclusions will be forthcoming as the review of the data is not quite complete.

Evaluation of the Program SCAN’R for Sorting Ultrasonic Recordings of Bat Vocalizations
Williams, Shannon M.*, Stacy J. Wolbert, and Howard P. Whidden. Department of Biological Sciences, East Stroudsburg University

Demand for alternative energy sources has led to explosive development of wind farms in many parts of the country. However, wind farms may pose a serious threat to bat populations. Acoustic monitoring of bat vocalizations is an important tool for assessing bat activity and the potential for bat mortality. However, ultrasonic detectors can sometimes record thousands of files each night, many of which are insect calls or environmental noise. Sorting through these files manually to identify bat calls is an enormous task and may limit the usefulness of acoustic monitoring. The new program SCAN’R (Binary Acoustic Technology) was designed to filter through these files and detect bat vocalizations. We assessed the performance of SCAN’R through close examination of almost 12,000 files recorded during acoustic monitoring. Files were sorted both by SCAN’R and a single experienced researcher and the results compared. Both techniques identified over 5,000 bat calls; SCAN’R picked up over 99% of the calls identified manually. The researcher picked up 31 calls that SCAN’R missed; these were typically weak calls surrounded by abundant background noise. However, SCAN’R picked up 11 calls that the researcher missed. SCAN’R appears to be a very effective tool for sorting large numbers of ultrasonic recordings.

Bat Activity in Relation to Temperature and Elevation.
Wolbert, Stacy*, Howard P. Whidden, Eugenia Skirta (East Stroudsburg University), and Greg Turner (PA Game Commission)

A major source of alternative energy is wind power, and wind farms are currently being constructed at many sites in the eastern United States. While wind farms do provide an alternative form of energy, there is concern over their impacts on birds and bats. To better understand the role of temperature and elevation in bat mortality associated with wind farms, we sampled bat activity along an elevational gradient at 3 study areas in northeastern Pennsylvania. At each study area, bat activity was sampled with an AR125 acoustic detection system (Binary Acoustic Technology) at elevations of 1100’, 1500’, and 1900’. Each study area was sampled once a week. Temperature data were obtained from a Hobo data logger permanently installed at each of the 9 sampling sites. During 20 weeks of sampling, we recorded over 50,000 total bat passes. A weighted least-squares regression model was highly significant (p<0.001) with an r2 = 0.996. Standardized partial regression coefficients for hour, temperature, and elevation predictors were negative whereas date and location predictors were positive. We found no evidence that temperature inversions lead to increased bat activity along ridge tops.

Battling Bad Bat Searcher Efficiency: A New Mortality Survey Technique Using Nets
Zellner, Andrew S.*, Howard P. Whidden (East Stroudsburg University), and Greg Turner (PA Game Commission)

The proliferation of wind farms along ridges of the Appalachians has raised concerns about bat mortality resulting from collisions with turbines. Assessment of this mortality has traditionally relied on mortality survey techniques that involve observers walking transects beneath turbines, noting carcass numbers and locations. However, several studies have shown that these current mortality surveys often suffer from poor searcher efficiencies. We are testing a new protocol for estimating turbine mortality that uses bird netting to catch impacted bats and birds. The netting will be placed horizontally at the base of turbines and should allow observers to quickly and comprehensively note all carcasses. Our proposed design relies on stratified random sampling for the placement of the netting, with several nets (14’ x 100’) below each turbine. To assess the effectiveness of the netting, observers, following traditional protocols, will walk comparable transects directly parallel and adjacent to the nets. We welcome any comments or suggestions about this design.

State Wind Farm Bat Protocols & Monitoring Discussion
Scott Darling*, Greg Turner*, and an ensuing free-for-all

A number of presentations are rumored including but not limited to:

Coordinating and designing Indiana bat SURVEYOR qualifications
NY spring emergence tracking
NJ Great Swamp NWR Ibat telemetry
PA summer Ibat tracking
PA fall Ibat tracking
NY mark-recapture update
Reports from the North American Symposium on Bat Research (especially wind power)

NEBWG 2007 - New Jersey
List of Registered Participants

About 60 so far, names to be announced

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