The bats may make more than just a cameo appearance in the night sky this weekend.
The Skeena Community Bat Project wants to remind residents that mid-summer has more bats flying into a home, on the ground or roosting in peculiar spots.
Young bat pups are the reason for the increased activity.
“In July and August, pups are learning to fly, and their early efforts may land them in locations where they are more likely to come in contact with humans,” says Mandy Kellner, biologist and coordinator with the BC Community Bat Project.
The community bat program has 15 participants in Prince Rupert who count bats on their property between June 1-21 and July 21 to Aug. 15.
“We ask anyone to do one to four counts to give idea of population numbers,” said Ashleigh Ballevona, the co-ordinator for the Skeena Community Bat Project.
Stantec Consulting conducted a study on the bat population in McClymont Park mid-July. Large nets were placed in the park for the weekend, and the bats were tagged in the evenings from 7 p.m. to midnight. The results of the study were not available before deadline.
Ballevona was unaware that the city was also doing its own bat count. The community bat project is hoping to organize and train people how to count bat populations if there was a public roost that someone could volunteer to track.
The community bat project is funded by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. Many people have called the community project with reports of bats in unusual locations this summer.
Some species of bats adapt to live in human structures, and a bat colony can be found under roofs or siding, in attics or barns. Female bats stay in the maternity colony in the early summer and they don’t leave until the pups are able to fly.
The Skeena Community Bat Project wants to remind people that it’s illegal to exterminate bats under the B.C. Wildlife Act. Bats in the province have low levels of rabies infections but the project recommends calling 1-855-922-2287 ext. 19 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if someone finds a dead bat or has any other concerns.
In the spring, there were reports that white-nose syndrome, a deadly bat disease that is wiping out bat populations across North America, was detected in Seattle. In April, the community bat project asked the public to report any sightings of dead bats to keep track of the disease in western Canada.