The Haliburton Highlands Land Trust (HHLT) received a grant from the Ontario Species at Risk Stewardship Fund to conduct a study on the bats in the County of Haliburton. We have 8 species of bats in Ontario and unfortunately many populations are declining dramatically as a result of a fungal infections called White-nose Syndrome (WNS). Since WNS was first detected in Ontario in 2010 the impact on the Little Brown Myotis, Northern Myotis, Small-footed Myotis and Tri-coloured Bat has been so dramatic that all four of these species are now listed as endangered.
With the decline happening so rapidly the HHLT Bat Project is attempting to determine what species still exist in the County of Haliburton and their distribution throughout the County. The HHLT is depending on concerned citizens to assist them with this research by asking the community to report all observations of bats to the Project Biologist Paul Heaven (firstname.lastname@example.org / 705.286.3181). With permission a bat recorder is then set up on the property for 3-5 nights. The bat recorder is set to come on at 6 PM and off at 6 AM and records the ultrasonic calls the bats make when foraging. Each call is unique to their species. Through the use of software (SonoBat) the Project Biologist is able to analyze some of the better calls to compile a list of each species on site. If an endangered species is identified then the intent is to return to the site next year and follow the bats to identify important colony and roost sites.
The HHLT looks forward to continuing this research over the summer months and hopes to hear about your bats soon!