Bat Squad! – Bats Need Friends

This time on Bat Squad! boy: My project is about
White-nose syndrome and it’s really deadly. girl: About 600,000 to 900,000
bats die per year from wind farms. Echolocation is how bats
see with their ears. This is just amazing… Hey bat friends, I’m Cami
and I’m your Bat Squad! host. Bats are really cool. They have the
cutest little faces and they come in LOTS
of different colors. I mean, some bats look
like dogs, and some – well, they just look
a little strange! The sad thing is, though,
that bats are facing a lot of problems –
like getting sick. Calvin, can you please
tell us more about your science fair
project on a disease that’s effecting bats
all across America? Hi, I’m Calvin and
I’m from Texas and I’m 10 years old. My favorite bat is the
Mexican Free-tailed. I did a lot of my research on it
and I’ve learned a lot about it. My project is about
White-nose syndrome. White-nose syndrome is caused by
a fungus and it’s really deadly. It’s killed millions of bats. And what it does is it destroys
the skin on the bat’s wings so they can’t really fly well and it wakes them up
in the wintertime. And it kills the bats because
they starve to death. It likes cold temperatures
so it likes cold bats. On the inside the bat’s really
warm so they stay warm. But on the outside of
the bat it’s really cold and the fungus grows on it
and turns into the disease. The rest of the bats
that hibernate that get White-nose syndrome
are dying very quickly. In the winter it snows a lot so if there are no
mosquitos and bugs, the bats can’t eat, and then
they die of starvation. How I heard about it was my
local wildlife refuge center brought some bats and they
talked about White-nose syndrome and I went to Carlsbad and they
talked about White-nose syndrome so I thought it was a pretty big
deal so I started looking it up and I found all sorts of
information about it. White-nose syndrome started in
Albany, New York and it spread on the entire east coast
of the United States. Michigan, Virginia, Washington
DC, all those big places. In my research of White-nose
syndrome spreading I only did one way because
bat to bat seems more effective. But there’s actually
three ways that it can spread. One is bat to bat, the other
one is person to cave to bat and the other one is bat to
person to another cave. But recently Washington State has had White-nose
syndrome there and what I think
it was was a person that doesn’t know
what he’s doing or someone that just didn’t
clean their equipment right and they went up
into Washington State and had White-nose syndrome
somewhere on their body and they spread it there. Thanks Calvin, that’s really sad
that the disease has spread. That’s why it’s really important
that we don’t enter caves where bats hang out. They may be cool, but
it’s very dangerous. We don’t want to get the
fungus on our clothes and spread it, too. So Calvin, what did you look at
for your science fair project? What I did for a science fair, was I did White-nose
syndrome as my research. I wanted to see if
the other bats could get White-nose syndrome to
the Mexican Free-tails. Here in Austin,
Congress Avenue Bridge is the largest urban
colony in the world and in Bracken Cave is the
largest colony in the world and it would be
pretty devastating if we lost those two colonies. So I started researching
about the two colonies, saw that they are really
big and then I started looking around Texas to see
if there were any places that had caves and bats or
had White-nose syndrome. So I found Franklin County
in Arkansas and so I started looking at summer
habitat ranges, seeing if they intersect
and I found out they didn’t. They’re about
555 kilometers apart. So we’re safe for now. I studied Mexican
Free-tailed bats so it was really cool to
see my study up close. I never knew
they looked like that. They call them
Mexican Free-tails because of their free tail. Bats have a tail and
there’s a membrane that holds the tail in place
so that they can turn easier. But the Mexican Free-tail, they
have a little bit of a membrane but the rest is tail. They look much like dogs. They act really close to dogs
and they’re really cute. That’s a really interesting
project, Calvin. Those bats are so cute. White-nose syndrome
is a real problem but I’m glad that scientists
and adults and other people are working hard
to help our bats. So Camryn, can you tell
us about another problem that bats might face? Hi, I’m Camryn, I’m 14
and I’m from Oregon. So wind farms are very important
for our environment now because they’re
renewable energy and it’s easy for our environment to use that. It’s not bad for it. But the problem is that
it’s also affecting bats and other creatures around
because a lot of bats are dying. Turbines can be a great danger
to bats because even though it looks like it’s
moving really slowly, the blades are actually
moving very quickly. And the bats can run into that and may not be able to
detect how fast it’s moving and that can hurt them and
cause a danger to them. So one way how people
are deterring bats from wind turbines is the
idea of making a sound that bats fly away from. It’s eco-friendly because
other people like humans may not be able
to hear the sound but it just keeps the
bats away naturally. So my science fair project
is about, a question of where to place a sound-making
device on a wind turbine to repel bats. I first got interested in
this project because my mom works at a wind turbine company
and I was learning about how all the bats were dying
from the wind turbines. About 600,000 to 900,000 bats
die per year from wind farms and I was really worried
about that because I know of all the
endangered bat species, it’s important to protect them. Especially because wind energy is getting really important
in the world today and we need to protect the
other animals, too, like bats. I’ve met with Chris Hein,
an expert that works at Bat Conservation International
and he talked to me about how a sound can repel bats
and showed me a video where bats were flying by a cave and
they emitted a certain sound and the bats moved
away from the sound. And that got me
thinking about the ideas that they’re researching
right now about how they can place a
sound-making device on the turbine to repel
bats from an area and I was wondering about
if you placed it on the center of a turbine,
which is called the nacelle, would it work just as well as going on the outside
of the blades? And how the sound
would be distributed. And so I went
about testing that, placing it on the tips of
the blades or in the center. And then I found different
results because I measured with a decibel measure meter
and then an Anabat device which is measuring
frequency of sounds. and I found that placing it on the tips of the
blades of the turbine distributed the sound
equally around the fan or the turbine it was on but
then placing it on the center it was louder just coming from the center going
straight forward. And so there would be different results whether or not you wanted a bat, if it
was flying in from the side, would it hear it just as well if
it was flying in from the front. So in the science fair,
I got first place overall for the science
fair at districts and then at the
state science fair I got first place in my
category and then I applied to go to the National Science
Fair in Washington DC and I got elected as a
semifinalist for that. That’s so cool that we may be
able to use sound to save bats. You got to use some really
interesting equipment in your project too! Scientists use a lot of
interesting equipment to answer research questions. Maybe Alexis can tell us
more about what it’s like to do bat research. Hi everyone, my name is Alexis,
I’m 14 and I live in Tennessee. I’ve been working with bats
for seven summers now. I first got excited about bats
when I was in third grade. All of my projects have dealt
with White-nose syndrome and the effect of
the population. Just in different ways. Some I went netting and
some I used a detector, detecting echolocation. My favorite part of my
research is actually going out into the field and
either looking at the detector and seeing how much it jumped
from seven days ago to now. And going out and netting bats. I really love doing that. My most recent project has been
dealing with the acoustic or bat echolocation
and the activity calls. Echolocation is how bats
see with their ears. It’s not necessarily
that bats are blind, but they don’t really use their
eyesight in the darkness. What it is is a high frequency
noise that we cannot hear. They use it to detect the
size, shape and the texture of a tree or a moth
to see if it’s moving or it’s standing still. They also detect if there’s
an object that is stationary, or not moving so they don’t run
into it when they’re flying. When they do detect
something that’s moving they go for it
and try to eat it. A bat detector is a way we can
detect bat activity calls. We cannot hear that frequency because it’s above
our range of hearing. A bat detector tells
you the species of bat and generally how many bats
there are in the area. So this bat detector
is a hand-held device used when you walk around at
night and you want to get those bat activity
calls in your area. The one on the tree I have
is one you can have for weeks so you don’t have to go
around walking at night. It is on a monthly timer but I
check on it every 7 to 10 days. It does not give you
instant feedback. It records it on a chip and then
you plug it into your computer and see how many
bat chats you have. I’ve decided to put
my bat detector on a low hanging branch
in a sturdy tree. The low hanging branch
is for the microphone so I can wrap it around and I
can reach the box if I need to. I like to put the bat
detectors next to rivers, because that’s where
bugs usually are and bats go to bugs. In the data I collected I’ve
noticed that there has been a decrease in bat populations
of the Great Smokey Mountains. Like when I first went out,
all you could catch were Northern Long-ears and
some odd years later you can’t find any anymore and that’s due to
White-nose syndrome. The loss of bats
means more insects and more insects means the
loss or damage of crops. And that is less food for us. I’ve shared my
results of my research using science fair projects,
classroom talks, going to rotary clubs,
Boo at the Zoo, and bat walks. I have been competing in science
fairs since third grade. I’ve competed in
schools, counties, and regional science fairs. This is my project
I did in third grade called ‘Save our Bats’ and I just did it on
White-nose syndrome and how that affects
our bat populations. This is my seventh grade
project, ‘Bat Chat’ using echolocation to determine
White-nose syndrome in bats. I used echolocation using a
sonar meter to detect if there was a decrease in
the population of bats in the Great Smokey Mountains. This year is my seventh summer
and my project is called Pseudogymnoascus destructans
using White-nose syndrome to compare last year’s borealis
to the general myotis species in 23 ash trees in the Great
Smokey Mountains National Park. If other kids would like to
do this type of research you can go out with a scientist but you always
have to have an adult and of course you can do
this type of research. That’s so cool to hear about
all the science research that Calvin, Camryn,
and Alexis are doing. Who knows what amazing
discoveries they’ll make as they continue their research? Even though bats
face many threats, we can still do a lot of
things to help protect them. And if you’re really interested
in saving the bats, then you might want to tell
a friend or family member. They might be interested
and want to help too! You can learn more about
White-nose syndrome by completing the activity “There’s a fungus among us.” Fungus among us. Join our next webcast, Bat Chat,
where you can learn even more about bats and
how to join the squad. See you then. Bye!

1 thought on “Bat Squad! – Bats Need Friends

  1. THANK YOU! Fabulous video…the world needs to know andprotect our bats. Have pallids at my house and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them! Thank you for the great work you do.

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