While we at Ecostudies Institute primarily work on birds, I had the opportunity to attend a week-long workshop about the other group of fascinating, flying creatures: Bats! Many of the same technical challenges of monitoring bird also aggravate and perplex bat biologists. Their flight, for example, makes them difficult to catch or track.
I was lucky enough to attend a training in Spokane taught by Cori Lausen and focusing on how to deploy acoustic equipment and identify specific bat calls. While most bird enthusiasts can walk outside and easily hear and identify an American Robin, bat biologists have to get creative hear bats.
Bats vocalize at “ultrasonic” frequencies, which means the calls they make are higher than what the human ear can detect. Interestingly, young girls have the best hearing of any humans and can hear up to 20 khz. To put this in perspective, most American bats broadcast from 16