Just in time for Halloween, we learned a great deal about these amazing flying mammals. Our guests were David Wyatt, Professor of Biology at Sacramento City College, who has been doing research and field work with bats for 18 years, in California, Baja California, Belize, and Costa Rica;
and Dr. Kirsten Bohn, Research Professor with the Bat Communication Laboratory at Florida International University.
A highlight for me was playing recordings of bats communicating, including songs performed by males in breeding season. We heard some at original (full) speed, and some slowed down so they are audible to human ears. Although it has long been known that bats use sound to navigate – a process called echolocation, akin to radar – only recently was it discovered that male bats sing on breeding territory, much as many birds do.
We also heard a deeply disturbing report on White-nose Syndrome, a fungal disease that is killing millions of bats in eastern and central North America. It is likely that some populations, and perhaps whole species, will be wiped out by this disease. So far it has not been detected in California.
Resources for additional information: (to be added)