On Tuesday night, Aug. 2, (rain date Aug. 3), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service St. Croix Wetland Management District will present Bat Chat, an educational presentation about native bats followed by a guided observational walk at McMurtrie Preserve in Star Prairie. The wetland management district began its survey of local bat populations last summer.
Declining bat populations around the country have made headlines over the last decade. The culprit, white-nose syndrome, has been particularly hard on three species, northern long-eared, little brown and tri-colored bats.
White-nose syndrome is a fungal disease that impacts bats while they are hibernating.
Fish and Wildlife staff Chris Trosen and Heidi Reinhart manage the wetland management district bat monitoring program.
Last summer the program amassed 281 hours of recording capturing 20,009 acoustic files.
The data was analyzed by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Conservation Biologist J. Paul White, a white-nose syndrome specialist in using Kaleidoscope, a Wildlife Acoustics Auto-Identification program.
White was able to identify 11,462 (57.1%) of the files. The bat species that were identified included the big brown bat, silver-haired bat, hoary bat, eastern red bat and little brown bat. The northern-long-eared bat was not identified in the files.
Fish and Wildlife biologist Jill Utrup will be leading the Bat Chat so bring your bat questions to McMurtrie Preserve, 2398-2344 County Highway M in Star Prairie, Tuesday, Aug. 2, from 7:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m.
The event is free and open to everyone. Bug spray and a headlamp or flashlight are recommended.