Bat Project

The Land Trust Asks You to “Go to Bat” for the bats.

A new publication by the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust, Paul Heaven and with assistance from the Ministry of Natural Resources, is now available here!

It is titled ” Best Management Practices for Bats”  This document provides valuable information about bats and how we can best work towards helping this endangered  group of species to better survive and thrive.

Best Management Practices for Bats January 2018

The Haliburton Highlands Land Trust has been approved to receive $ 104,000.00 in funding over the next two years by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Species at Risk Stewardship Fund (OSARSF) program.

The primary focus of the grant will be identifying various bat species and their populations in Haliburton County. Bat populations have declined by more than 90% at some hibernation sites and most of the hibernation sites are at risk. We need to find out what we have left”, said Paul Heaven, wildlife biologist and principal investigator for the “Bat Project”.

The Land Trust is asking community members to report any bat observations from this year to Paul Heaven, pheaven@glenside-eco.ca or 705-286-3181. Also, if you remember seeing large numbers of bats at a specific location, please also report that information.  The Land Trust monitors all Species at Risk (SAR) in the County, so please continue to submit all SAR observations to Paul as well.

VIEW BATS POSTER

Observations and documentation will also take place on the four properties (approximately 700 acres) that the Land Trust currently owns, manages and protects.  “We are very excited about this project and the opportunity to further document Species at Risk on our properties and in our community.  We are also pleased that we have the funds to make some small but hopefully significant changes to our turtle barrier, another project that we are very proud of” said Mary Lou Gerstl, Chair of the Land Trust.

Despite popular sayings, bats are neither blind nor crazy.  But they are in trouble. Four out of eight species in Haliburton County are now listed as ENDANGERED.  Populations of bats around North America are declining, in part due to White Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease that disrupts their life cycles. Very little is known about bat populations in Haliburton County.

Bats play an important role in the environment.  Bats help farmers, gardeners and foresters by consuming countless insect pests thereby protecting our crops, gardens and forests from potential damage.  Bats can consume thousands of mosquitoes in one night.  Join the Land Trust on Saturday, July 8 at Abbey Gardens from 10:00am to noon to build your own bat box to help reduce the number of biting insects on your property.  Kits will be supplied.  Registration will be limited so don’t be disappointed.

This project made possible by the Government of Canada.

Ce projet a été rendu possible en partie grãce au gouvernement du Canada.

News as of January 9, 2018

A new publication by the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust, Paul Heaven and with assistance from the Ministry of Natural Resources, is now available here!

It is titled ” Best Management Practices for Bats”  This document provides valuable information about bats and how we can best work towards helping this endangered  group of species to better survive and thrive.

Best Management Practices for Bats January 2018

2017

In 2017, with funding from the Ontario Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust began a project to look at bat populations in Haliburton County.  The public response to requests for bat observations was phenomenal and helped identify 88 sites for investigation.   Recording devices were set up at 56 sites and 12,663 bat calls were recorded and analyzed.  Paul Heaven, the project’s biologist, was able to identify 7 of the 8 bat species found in Ontario. The eighth bat, Northern Myotis, was identified but confidence levels fluctuated.  Little Brown Myotis, Eastern Small-footed Myotis, Northern Myotis and Tri-coloured Bat are species at risk.  We were very pleased to discover that all 4 Land Trust properties had recordings of bats, including some at risk species.

This project continues next year, so if you were unable to attend our bat box building workshop this year, make sure you sign up early to ensure a seat.  Also, when spring comes, watch out for bats as we will be asking for your observations again.

Note:  Watch out for the publication of our Best Management Practices for Bat Conservation.

The Haliburton Highlands Land Trust is entering year two of our Bats research project.  We are very excited to continue with this successful venture! Please see the MEdia Release below for all the details.

WantedBatSightingsPoster-2018 Click on the link to view the latest “WANTED, BAT SIGHTINGS” poster.

Media Release – for immediate release, May 10, 2018

The Land Trust Will Continue to Ask our Community to “Go to Bat” for the bats.

The Haliburton Highlands Land Trust (HHLT) has been approved to continue with the second year of its two-year grant by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Species at Risk Stewardship Fund (OSARSF).

The primary focus of the grant in Year One was to identify the bat species and their distribution in Haliburton County.  Over 40 locations were visited and tens of thousands of bat calls were recorded.  “Though anecdotally we know that bat populations are not as high as they once were, it is good news that we have documented all 8 species found in the Province, including the four endangered species: the Little Brown Myotis, Eastern Small–footed Myotis, Northern Myotis and Tri-coloured Bat,” stated Paul Heaven, wildlife biologist and principal investigator for the “Bat Project”.

HHLT is once again asking the community to report any bat observations this year directly to their Office Administrator, Christel Furniss, admin@haliburtonlandtrust.ca or 705-457-3700.   Of particular interest is the presence of large numbers of bats at a specific location, as this may represent a roost site.

HHLT also monitors all Species at Risk (SAR) in the County, so please continue to submit all SAR observations to Paul Heaven, pheaven@glenside-eco.ca or 705-286-3181.

Year Two will follow-up on active bat sites found in 2017. An examination of activity identified 6 sites that represent probable maternity roosts of the Little Brown Myotis and 7 sites that represent possible maternity roosts of the Eastern Small-footed Myotis, Northern Myotis or Tri-colored Bat. All thirteen sites have been identified for further investigation during the 2018 field season. These actions directly meet critical actions identified in the Northern Myotis, Eastern Small-footed Myotis, Little Brown Myotis and Tri-colored Bat provincial recovery strategies. There will also be continued observations and documentation on all properties (approximately 700 acres) that HHLT currently owns, manages and protects.

“Remember that bats play an important role in the environment.  They are nature’s environmentally friendly insecticide.” says Mary-Lou Gerstl, HHLT Chair, “Bats can consume thousands of mosquitoes and other insect pests in one night”

Learn more about these fascinating, beneficial creatures by attending HHLT’s presentation by one of the world’s foremost authorities on bats, Brock Fenton, Professor Emeritus of Biology/UWO, “Exploring the Lives of Bats” at the Minden Cultural Centre on May 26th, @ 7:00pm.

Last year HHLT hosted an extremely successful bat box building workshop.  Given the overwhelming response and interest from the community, the HHLT is pleased to announce that this year they will be hosting two more bat box build workshops, in partnership with Abbey Garden and The Fish Hatchery.  Come out and build your own bat box to help reduce the number of biting insects on your property.  The first workshop will be held Saturday, June 9th at The Fish Hatchery (HHOA) and the second will be Saturday July 21st at Abbey Gardens.  They both start at 10:00 a.m. and end approximately at noon.  Kits will be supplied. Registration is limited so don’t be disappointed. Register today at www.haliburtonlandtrust.ca .

To learn more about the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust, please visit www.haliburtonlandtrust.ca or call 705-457-3700.

Mary Lou Gerstl

Chair – Haliburton Highlands Land Trust