WNS Blog

Stories from the Field

Back in 2014, I worked for the U.S. Forest Service (FS) with Nadja (Na-dee-uh) Schmidt, a seasonal wildlife lead for the Deschutes National Forest Sisters Ranger District.  Nadja invited me to come out and mist net bats with her recently and I was super excited because I'm a long time bat fan, but a first time mist netter. My role in the situation was limited by the fact that I don't have a rabies vaccination, so I helped with decontamination procedures and data collection. Bats are soooo cool and I owe a lot of my bat love to Nadja; she’s a great mentor! I find the shape of...

How Many Bats are in That House?

Bat houses at Kootenai National Wildlife
It is easy to miss the bat houses when you drive into the maintenance yard at Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge. Four small structures, mounted on the side of one of the buildings, don’t look like much. But in summer, those boxes are home to a LOT of bats. The refuge installed the houses in 2010 hoping to relocate a colony of bats that roosted in an old building – a building slated to be torn down. It worked, and the bats moved into their new digs. Refuge staff could tell the bats were living there by the growing pile of guano accumulating under the structures each summer and when staff...

Delaware Bat Spotters Program

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) invited Holly Niederriter, Wildlife Biologist for Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control, and Katelyn Rembecki, Research Assistant, to talk about Delaware bats on October 12, 2017.
For its last “Evening at the Hook” lecture for 2017, Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) invited Holly Niederriter, Wildlife Biologist for Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control, and Katelyn Rembecki, Research Assistant, to talk about Delaware bats on October 12, 2017. In addition to dispelling some myths about bats, Ms. Niederriter described the biology and status of bats and their ecological role in controlling insect pests. Population abundance of all bat species in Delaware has decreased significantly over the years, though the big brown bat (a cave species that...

I Found a Bat in my Home! What Do I Do?

Always wear gloves when handling a bat. Photo credit: Rita Dixon
They come out after sunset in the summertime, swooping through the backyard hunting for moths, flies, beetles, spiders, crickets, and other insects. That is all okay. But what if you find a bat trapped inside your home? Check out this blog post and video from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

U.S. Forest Service: Educating visitors to Ape Cave about WNS

Apes Headquarters, where lantern rentals and small purchases can be made, also has educational materials displayed.  Between Apes Headquarters and the adjacent toilets is the trail all visitors must use to access Ape Cave.
Ape Cave, a 2-mile long lava tube cave on Gifford Pinchot National Forest, draws approximately 120,000 visitors annually. The cave does not have a known hibernating bat population, but with white-nose syndrome having been discovered in Washington in 2016, educating and managing people to minimize the risk for potential introduction of Pseudogymnoascus destructans (Pd)- the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome- into this and other caves has become a priority for the U.S. Forest Service.  Although Ape Cave does not get much bat use, there are several lava tube caves in the area that...

Help in Filling in the Gaps about Bats at Oregon Caves

Laura and members of the public at the Siskiyou Field Institute
Hired as a Guest Scientist in the Geologists-in-the-Parks Program, Dr. Laura Heiker works at Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve.  She comes from a growing cadre of young yet experienced chiroptologists (scientists who study bats) now in high demand in small learning and research centers with limited staff qualified to assess bat data. Laura fits the bill as she has had extensive experience in China, Colorado, and now in southwestern Oregon in both bat netting and acoustic data gathering and analysis. Starting with banding in the 1950s, Oregon Caves has one of the best...

Unlocking the mystery of White-nose Syndrome at the leading edge

Researchers Cliff Lemen with Nebraska Game and Parks and Hans Otto with the University of Arizona set up an infrared camera at a cliff face along the Missouri River in Nebraska.  Credit: Dr. Jeremy White, University of Nebraska Omaha
Just above the Missouri River waters in Nebraska, perch limestone slopes that hold newly discovered hibernation sites for bats. There is little topography that rises above the horizon in the heart of the Western Corn Belt, but the river cut deep banks on the Nebraska side and left ribbons of limestone cracks that may hold the secret of bats in the Northern Plains. This subtle landscape holds clues to the westward spread of the White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) fungus, Pseudogymnoscus destructans or Pd. The fungus has decimated bat populations in the regions of the U.S and Canada, and where bats...

Researchers work to stop the spread of white-nose syndrome in Washington

Second bat confirmed with WNS in Washington. Credit: PAWS Wildlife Center
Note: See previous blog, "White-nose syndrome marches westward: scientists and others work to save bats" for information on initial detection of white-nose syndrome in Washington.  Tracking down a deadly bat disease called white-nose syndrome (WNS) in Washington is a tough job, and in many ways, we are working blind. We don’t know where most of our 15 bat species spend their winters, and many of the tools and techniques that scientists use to detect WNS are designed to be used in places where bats hibernate. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is working with partners...

White-nose syndrome marches westward: scientists and others work to save bats

Biologists wear personal protective equipment when collecting bat feces. Credit: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Author Ann Froschauer is the Pacific Northwest Region's White-nose Syndrome Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceWhen white-nose syndrome was confirmed in Washington State earlier this year, a collective shudder went through the white-nose syndrome and bat research community.Since the discovery of white-nose syndrome (WNS) in New York about a decade ago, scientists have learned a great deal more about bats, the disease, and the fungus that attacks them during hibernation. As WNS continues to spread and affect bat populations across the eastern U.S. and Canada, we race against...

Not another Zubat?!

Photo by Jordi Segers
Today we hear from Jordi Segers, White-nose syndrome coordinator for the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative, and self-proclaimed Pokémon geek!   The Pokémon franchise, which includes multiple game series, a cartoon series, a card trading game, and much more, has been immensely popular ever since it was first introduced to the world 20 years ago. In only a week's time, the new augmented reality game, Pokémon GO, has launched a worldwide hype of people of all ages taking to the outside world in search of their favourite Pokémon. Pokémon GO allows the Pokémon trainers to see...