Thursday, March 7, 2013

Similarities Between Backyard Birding & Bat Detecting

It's easy to understand why so many people enjoy bat detecting and recording. Especially when you take the time to consider the similarities between Backyard Birding & Bat Detecting.
And Birding, is said to be the most popular pastime in America (probably the World).

Now, I should state right up front, that I am also a long-time Birder. I've been keeping a 'Backyard Bird Journal' for several years now. And, back when the problems with my spine & my Fibromyalgia didn't have such a grip on me: I also enjoyed attending the local Bird Walks.

There are various levels of "dedication" for backyard Birders. And, of course, various levels of effort expended by each (unique) individual Birder. And the opportunities afforded to each of us plays a major role.

I suppose, that one of the most important factors, is how easily it is to glance out one's window - Into the back garden. Are the windows facing your garden large or small?
Some may actually set aside some time, during the early morning hours, to intentionally do some bird watching. While others (like myself, these days) will rely on what they might glimpse while going about their usual morning routines, etc.
Of course, it almost goes without saying, that: More effort put forth, results in more birds seen.

Now, if we consider bat detecting...Or more specifically, bat recording. We immediately see some advantages:

  • There is no need to wake up at Dawn (or other early morning hour) to see the best (most interesting/unique birds).
  • There's no need to constantly check what's going on, via the back windows.
  • There is no concern about missing the bats, because with minimal preparation: No bats will be missed.
For hobbyists who enjoy monitoring and/or recording the nightly activity of bats - Even modest equipment makes the process almost fully automated.

A typical scenario: The equipment is set up, at the back window in the early evening (an hour before Sunset, is the most recommended time). And in many cases, if weather permits, you may simply check the recordings the following morning.

So that while you slept, the local bat activity was diligently being recorded by your trusty bat detector!
Now, if you're like me - You check the bat detector's recordings several times before turning in for the night!

For me, it's a very cool feeling; to hit the Playback button - And hear the chirps of bats that have just recently flown-by your back garden : )

Whatever the case is: The various recordings, along with any other data collected may then be noted - In your bat journal. For example, I've been keeping detailed records of my nightly bat recording sessions, since 2007.

I enjoy going over my notes; both paper & electronic, to see when bats were detected. The same way a Birder enjoys going back, through their Journal to see when (what time of year) a specific bird was seen. Among the things that fascinate me, are factors like:

  • What time of night/early morning were bats flying?
  • Exactly how early in the year were the first bats recorded?
  • Which months of the year produced the most bat activity?
  • How far into Autumn/Winter were bats still being picked up/detected?

And, depending on how advanced your bat detector's features are:

  • What was your exact monitoring location?
  • What were the temperatures?
  • Light levels?
I also like to record/take note of other weather factors in my journal/notes. Primarily wind (speed & direction), as well as precipitation. These two factors are well known to have a profound impact on bat activity. Many of these factors will tell you, if bats can be expected to take flight or not.

I've read a bit recently, about the phases of the Moon having a effect on bat flight activity. So, in addition, other factors that I've started keeping track of are: Humidity, fog, etc., and phases of the Moon.

Happy Bat Detecting!

1 comment:

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