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N.H. biologists looking for volunteers to count bats on their properties

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Ralph Eldridge
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Wildlife biologists are asking New Hampshire residents who have a barn or other outbuilding to count the number of bats roosting there this summer.

New Hampshire’s two most common bat species – the little brown bat and the big brown bat – often use outbuildings as their summer homes, providing shelter for female bats and their young.

New Hampshire Fish and Game says monitoring these “maternity colonies” can give biologists a better sense of how the bat population is doing year to year.

Little brown bats have been decimated by White Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease, and are now considered endangered in the state.

Other local bat species have also seen population declines in the last few years, according to Haley Andreozzi, the wildlife conservation state specialist for UNH’s Cooperative Extension.

She says in addition to knowing population sizes, the count “also helps us understand more about what is potentially special or unique about the sites where bats do exist and maybe even places where they're thriving or doing well.”

There will be a bat census in June and one later in the summer, once the bat pups can fly.

Andreozzi has a few tips for those who might be participating in this year’s bat count:

  • Identify whether you have a bat colony. Spend some time outside at night or see if there’s guano (bat excrement) in the building structure. 
  • For the count: spend time outside a couple of evenings to notice where the bats are entering and exiting the structure, since it can be challenging to see as dusk turns to evening. 

More information on how to participate can be found at wildlife.state.nh.us, and there will be two training sessions for people who are interested in participating this year.

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