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Assistance needed in nighttime hummingbird feeder bat monitoring project

Modified: Tuesday, Aug 14th, 2012

MARANA — Were your hummingbird feeders mysteriously drained during the night this past summer? Did you know the midnight raiders were bats?

Most of Arizona’s 28 bat species eat insects, but two species drink nectar and eat pollen and fruits from plants such as the saguaro, agave and your hummingbird feeders. The Arizona Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with cooperation from the Town of Marana will be commencing our 2012 nighttime hummingbird feeder bat monitoring project and they need your help.

Over the past years, citizen scientists have graciously volunteered numerous hours each summer to monitor their hummingbird feeders for bats. They have provided valuable information that allows a better understanding of the behavior of the federally endangered lesser long-nosed bats (Leptonycteris curasoae) and the Arizona species of concern Mexican long-tongued bats (Choeronycteris mexicana). The lesser long-nosed bats migrate north from Mexico and arrive in southern Arizona as the Saguaros begin to bloom. They continue to travel throughout southern Arizona following the blooms of plants such as saguaros, agaves and hummingbird feeders in southern Arizona.

If you enjoy watching wildlife and sitting on your porch during summer evenings please consider volunteering your time for this worthy cause. Your efforts will allow wildlife and resource managers in Arizona to better understand the ecology of these species. The goals of this project are to understand when these species arrive in southern Arizona, determine foraging habits and movement patterns, and to document when the migratory species depart Arizona. With your help, they hope to continue receiving valuable information and use it to understand their behavior as well as how to better protect these bats.

If you are interested in participating in the hummingbird feeder monitoring project this year, please visit the official website sponsored by the Town of Marana, www.marana.com/bats. The website allows participants to sign up as volunteers and to download information about this year’s monitoring protocol.

For the complete article see the 09-01-2012 issue.

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