CWHC Atlantic delivers bat monitoring workshops across Atlantic Canada
Throughout the month of February, Tessa McBurney (CWHC Atlantic) and Jordi Segers (CWHC National Office) delivered workshops in a webinar format on monitoring bats in Atlantic Canada. The goal of the webinar was to establish a bat monitoring network across Atlantic Canada by training individuals in consistent bat monitoring techniques following the international North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat) guidelines. This initiative was achieved through the project Stewardship for Protection and Monitoring of Atlantic Canada’s Endangered Bat Species, a two-year project funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada through the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk, and co-led by Dr. Scott McBurney (CWHC Atlantic), Dr. Megan Jones (CWHC Atlantic/AVC), and Jordi Segers.
Three of the bat species found in Atlantic Canada are listed as Endangered under the federal Species-at-Risk Act due to bat white-nose syndrome (WNS): the little brown myotis, northern myotis, and tri-colored bat. Monitoring of these species is critical for determining the success of recovery actions and for providing wildlife managers with the necessary information to further aid in their conservation. There are an additional four bat species in the Atlantic provinces: the big brown bat, silver-haired bat, eastern red bat, and hoary bat. While these species are not similarly impacted by WNS, their populations may experience declines brought on by additional threats, including wind energy development, pesticide use, and habitat loss. The NABat monitoring program provides consistent monitoring methods for all these species. Acoustic surveys include stationary point surveys targeted at bat species habitat use and mobile transects which provide data for species relative abundance estimates. Acoustic surveys can be combined with colony counts, which are used for bat population estimates. By utilising the full spectrum of NABat monitoring techniques, wildlife managers can be provided with a detailed picture of species distribution and population recovery across the landscape.
Two full-day workshops were offered for each Atlantic province, resulting in a total of eight workshops. A total of 128 participants learned about bat ecology, bat monitoring techniques, establishing a NABat monitoring site, how to deploy acoustic bat detectors, and how to use acoustic files to identify bat species. These workshops also provided an opportunity for provincial and federal biologists, wildlife technicians, watershed group managers, Indigenous groups, conservation societies, researchers, nuisance wildlife control operators, and citizen scientists to come together and establish a regional network of individuals trained in bat monitoring and conservation. The webinars are recorded and are publicly available in conjunction with instructional videos on managing acoustic data and a step-by-step guide on bat monitoring in Atlantic Canada.
These workshops were hosted in collaboration with: the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development, the Newfoundland and Labrador Forestry and Wildlife Branch, the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry, the Prince Edward Island Forests, Fish and Wildlife Division, and the Prince Edward Island Watershed Alliance.
Submitted by Tessa McBurney, Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, Atlantic Region.
This blog post is the featured story of Bat Monthly of March 2021.