We offer a wide range of expertise on bat issues, from sensitive species surveys to habitat risk assessments. Our bat team has successfully planned, coordinated, and completed hundreds of bat monitoring projects that required developing training materials, survey datasheets, survey protocols, and communication protocols for remotely based biologists and technicians.

Our field staff are permitted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to capture, handle, and track endangered, threatened, and sensitive species, including Indiana bat, northern long-eared bat, gray bat, and big-eared bat, across their ranges. WEST’s bat biologists are also recognized leaders in quantitative and qualitative approaches to identify bat species acoustically.

The WEST team is leading research, monitoring, and conservation planning. This includes investigating new methods of bat monitoring, such as landscape-level habitat monitoring, the US Geological Survey-approved North American Bat Monitoring Program protocol, utilization of drones in acoustic surveys, and the use of detection dogs in bat fatality searches.

Bat Areas of Expertise

  • Analysis of Species Identification
  • Mist-Netting Surveys
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service Compliance Support
  • Bat Conservation Strategies
  • Acoustic Monitoring Surveys
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service Presence/Absence Surveys
  • Hibernacula Surveys
  • Habitat Assessments
  • Passive Acoustic Activity Monitoring
  • Maternity Colony Surveys
  • North American Bat Monitoring Program
  • Deterrent Studies
  • Smart Curtailment
  • Portal Surveys

Bat Publications

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Project Highlights

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Red Bat & Hoary Bat Foraging Research

In 2018, WEST conducted a pilot research study to investigate the foraging behaviors of Lasiurud bats, specifically red bats and hoary bats. Red bats and hoary bats are migratory bats that move into an area over the summer to forage and rear young before migrating long distances to the south for the winter. Migratory bats are a group of bats with little known about their summer patterns, particularly their use of landscape features throughout a night; however, they are often found as fatalities at wind facilities. WEST, in partnership with energy developers and state agencies, is continuing this study by capturing red bats and eastern bats, placing transmitters on individual bats, and tracking how they forage on the landscape.

Minnesota Forestry Bat Research, Surveys, & Conservation Plans

WEST has conducted bat surveys for county and state forest lands in Minnesota since 2014. Two counties contracted WEST to conduct mist-net telemetry surveys as well as acoustic surveys for bats on county forest lands. Since 2014, WEST has returned to the same survey areas to conduct mist-net and acoustic surveys, gathering invaluable, long-term data; this data is particularly useful since collection began before the arrival of white-nose syndrome (a disease caused by a fungus that affects millions of hibernating bats) to the state of Minnesota. The objectives of these surveys are to conduct species inventory, observe changes in bat activity following the arrival of white-nose syndrome, understand how bats are using county forest lands, and support the development of a Habitat Conservation Plan.