Bat monitoring project in Marana looking for volunteers | Events
Volunteers are needed for the 2013 nighttime Hummingbird feeder bat monitoring project, a cooperative effort between Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the Town of Marana.
An extended study boundary for 2013 includes all of Marana, Oracle, Casa Grande, Safford, Globe, and Picacho Peak.
Most of Arizona’s 28 bat species eat insects, but the endangered lesser long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris yerbabuenae) and the Mexican long-tongued bat (Choeronycteris mexicana) are nectar feeders. These nectar eaters generally rely on desert plants for their food supply of nectar, pollen, and fruit. The bats migrate north from Mexico, arriving in southern Arizona as saguaro cactus and agave flowers are starting to bloom. It is also during this time that these nectar-feeding bats also visit hummingbird feeders in local backyards, looking for a ‘fast and easy midnight’ snack. This activity is good news for those who study these international travelers.
Residents have volunteered their time during the summer months, since 2006, to monitor hummingbird feeders at night. For these citizen scientists that means writing down and photographing bat sightings. These observations help provide valuable information about the bats’ movements and foraging habitat. Information, which is vital in helping wildlife experts determine when these imperiled species arrive and depart southern Arizona each year, as well as how that timing may be changing in response to blooming plants.
“If you enjoy watchable wildlife and sitting on your porch during summer evenings, please consider volunteering your time for this worthy cause,” says Arizona Game & Fish Wildlife Specialist, Shawn Lowery, in a recent news release on the project. “Your efforts will allow wildlife and resource managers in Arizona to better understand the ecology of these species.”
Volunteers do not need experience in field work to get involved.
For those interested in participating, go online to www.marana.com/bats; the website is sponsored by the Town of Marana. Volunteers will be able to sign up and download information about monitoring protocol at this website.