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Bat and Hummingbird Feeders Study
Hummingbird study under way
Lesser long-nosed bat
Photo provided by Sigrid Jones

Volunteers are needed for a hummingbird feeder monitoring study. Participation by people living in or near Marana town limits is especially encouraged to determine the presence of lesser long-nosed bats. It’s easy and interesting to volunteer on this citizen science project. Monitor your feeder two or three times per week beginning in June and continuing until the bats leave, measuring the level of fluid in the feeder just before it gets dark and again when you rise in the morning. Then input your data on this website or print hard copies of the data sheets and return them at the end of the season.

 

If you would like to participate in this study, please contact Ted Fleming at or Janine Spencer at .

Instructions can be found here.

Current Status

The website forms can be found at the following links:
Data Input Form
End of Season Summary Form 

Background on the study

Data collected from this study will be used by scientists to better understand the lesser long-nosed bat, a species listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.

It will also be used by the Town of Marana and the City of Tucson in development of their Habitat Conservation Plans.

 

Background on the lesser long-nosed bat

Lesser long-nosed bats (Leptonycteris curasoae yerbabuenae) are migratory and spend their winters in Mexico, returning to Arizona as early as the second week in April. Pregnant females congregate at maternity roosts, give birth and raise their young throughout the summer. Males form separate, smaller colonies.

 

Nectar and pollen from the flowers of saguaro and organ pipe cactus are the core of the bat’s diet in early summer. Later in the summer, as they move up in elevation, they feed on agave. Their spring migration from central Mexico northward is thought to follow the sequential blooming of certain flowers from south to north. Bats have also been observed using hummingbird feeders near residential homes. Hummingbird feeder monitoring has been on-going in the Tucson Basin since 2006.

Check out this article on bats at hummingbird feeders: /DocumentCenter/View/20879 

Purpose of the study

By gathering data on where bats are feeding, when they arrive and leave the Tucson Basin, and tracking a few bats with radio transmitters, we can gain a better understanding of their foraging habitat, how they travel from their roosts to foraging sites, and the locations of their roosts. This will allow us to plan more effective conservation strategies and minimize any impacts we might be having on this endangered species.

 

The 2007-2008 Bat Telemetry Report by the AZ Game & Fish Department can be found at the following link: Telemetry Report

 

What we’ve learned from previous years of this study

Thanks to our citizen-scientist volunteers, we were able to capture and put radio transmitters on bats for a duration of three to four days. During this time AZ Game & Fish Department identified new information on movement corridors, and was able to follow bats as they returned to two significant day roosts that were previously unknown for this species. In addition, AZ Game & Fish Department located specific foraging patches within the urban and ex-urban interface of the Tucson basin. The character of these activity areas ranged from high density urban core to low density rural conditions. Movement distances from day roosts to foraging patches exceeded 40km (25 miles) for a one-way flight.

Summary Report 2010

 

For more detailed information on the lesser long-nosed bat, visit these links:


Hummingbird Feeder Project Contacts

Angie McIntire, Arizona Game and Fish Department:
Janine Spencer, Town of Marana:
Karen Krebbs, Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum:
Scott Richardson, US Fish and Wildlife Service:
Shawn Lowery, Arizona Game and Fish Department:
Ted Fleming, University of Arizona:

Additional links:
Bat Conservation International
www.batcon.org/index.php/all-about-bats.html
Arizona Department of Game and fish
http://www.azgfd.gov/w_c/edits/documents/Leptcuye.fi.pdf

Arizona Sonora-Desert Museum
http://www.desertmuseum.org/pollination/bats.php

Pima County Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan

http://www.co.pima.az.us/cmo/sdcp/species/fsheets/llb.html 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lesser Long-Nosed Bat Recovery Plan

http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/arizona/Documents/RecoveryPlans/LesserLongNoseBat.pdf