Bat Monitoring in Prince Edward Island National Park
Monitoring of bat activity is underway again throughout Prince Edward Island National Park! Recent restrictions due to COVID-19 have changed our original plans for the 2020 season; however, regular acoustic monitoring has continued in order to understand temporal fluctuations in bat activity. Four ultrasonic recorders have been deployed at ponds across PEI National Park and will provide insight on how bat activity has changed at each site across years as well as provide information on peaks of activity throughout the season.
In 2019, Parks Canada and the University of Waterloo (Dr. Hugh Broders and Evan Balzer) worked together to capture bats in order to confirm species identification, collect morphological data, and attach temporary radio transmitters to track bats back to adjacent colonies. Although capturing bats can not take place this year under the current COVID-19 restrictions, Parks Canada and the University of Waterloo will be building on the information collected last year in order to better understand suitable habitat that exists within the Park as well as the presence of potential roosting sites. With the data collected on suitable habitat in PEI National Park and from the Little Brown Myotis captured in 2019, remote work using geospatial data combined with the 2020 acoustic data will continue this year. As a result, Parks Canada will have a much better understanding of the habitats that are important to Little Brown Myotis in Prince Edward Island National Park, and in turn be able to make informed decisions on how best to protect these areas to support the recovery of this, and other, bat species found within the Park.
Through the tracking work completed in 2019, Parks Canada has a better understanding of the locations of adjacent Little Brown Myotis colonies and has been able to partner with local landowners to gain more information and assist in the protection of these bats. Most recently, Parks Canada was able to support a neighbouring landowner by providing information and installing bat boxes on a property where an old house has been slated for demolition. In 2019, it was found that the house contained a maternity roost. Together with the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC), Parks Canada was able to provide information to the landowner which resulted in a plan to move the demolition of the building to a time outside of the critical roosting season. Continued support through installation and modification of bat boxes will be provided to help facilitate future roosting on the property. The bat boxes have been constructed by Parks Canada using the guidance provided by CWHC’s document: Got Bats? How to manage bats in buildings in Prince Edward Island.
Parks Canada has also signed on to support the PEI Watershed Alliance in their planning as they move forward with acoustic monitoring throughout the province of Prince Edward Island over the coming years.
Submitted by Kim Gamble, Resource Management Officer Prince Edward Island National Park
This guest blog is the featured story in out Bat Monthly newsletter of July 2020. The full newsletter can be found here.