Sunday, June 19, 2011

I'm a little bit batty...

Gordon is on our local Stewardship Council and has spearheaded a bat programme. The Council is going to place bat boxes around our area, but first they need to determine where the bats are. No point placing a bat box in a bat-free zone!

So Gordon and I have been going out at night one of these:

It's a Pettersson D100 Ultrasound Detector, on loan from the provincial Ministry of Natural Resources. Very fun to use!

The first night we took it out in our garden and immediately found bats, mostly hoary bats. (We have a large stand of coniferous trees right next to our house. Hoary bats love coniferous forest. 

You identify the bats by the frequency at which you hear them. Hoary bats are around 20 kHz.  We also heard Little Brown bats and maybe a Big Brown bat.

I tried to blind Gordon by taking his photo in the pitch dark:


Then I tried to blind myself!

Gordon quickly learned to shut his eyes when I aimed the camera at him.

And here's a video of our adentures, featuring my long-suffering husband.  Near the very beginning, at about 0:06, you can hear the ultrasound  "clicking" or "plopping" noise (caught by the Pettersson detector)  of a bat flying by.  I think it was a Little Brown bat. They like to hunt insects near bodies of water.  This video was taken at Loch Garry near Alexandria.

You can also hear lots of frogs on the video, especially Bullfrogs and Green frogs. Here's a good website with recordings of Ontario frog calls.

We're having fun with this, although we've yet to find any really good spots for the bat boxes. Hoary bats don't use boxes. Little Brown bats would be the best for that. The search continues!


  1. Hurrah for the bats! They are as important as bees for pollinating AND insect control. I love to watch the bats at night by our streetlamp. And they are so TINY, it's amazing!

  2. I would love to play around w/ that equipment! good luck w/ your bat houses!

  3. What a truly delightful video. The Bickering Bat Hunters. With impressive background soundtrack of frogs and smacking of mosquitoes.
    My Bella coola son Andrew once had the job of bat-remover from someone's attic. He used a shop-vac and brought the critters home to release them. Some didn't survive but many did...and promptly returned to the same attic.

  4. Katnip, another bat fan, yay!! :) I wish more people were like you.

    Shelley, if it weren't $349 retail, I'd buy one to have fun with! It's pretty cool.

    Frannie, we had a lot of fun! Gordon's not as hen-pecked as the world is led to believe. He's stubborn as a mule! ;)

    That's a great story about Andrew. Imagine shop-vac-ing bats!

  5. For once I'm serious -- do a check for rabies in your area and don't pick up any dead or injured bats. They're the primary vector for rabies in N. America.

  6. Anonymous9:42 pm

    I'm not sure what type(s) of bats we have around here but I do see them flying past our high windows at night. What an interesting job!

  7. Neat! When i was a kid, there were bats living in behind our chimney - they use to fly out right in front of my window. I kinda miss them now.

  8. Chef Nick, no touching of bats is involved in this project! So not to worry.

  9. Wandering Cat, I'm guessing you weren't lighting fires when the bats were around! ;)

    CogDis, it's great having bats around. They eat oodles of insects! Pretty amazing aerobatics, too!


Thank you for all your comments, which I love to read!