Oregon has 15 species of bats, up to 13 of those species are found in Central Oregon and 8 of those are Oregon Conservation Strategy Species. (These are animals that have small or declining populations, are at-risk, and/or of management concern.)
Bats are flying mammals that can reach speeds of 20 to 30 mph. All bats in Oregon are insectivores. Bats use echolocation which allows them to make high-pitched sounds then listen to the echo of those sounds to locate where objects are. Echolocation helps them find even the smallest insect. Bats are incredibly important as pollinators and provide humans with natural pest control. One little brown bat can eat up to 1000 insects in an hour!
Recently The Cove purchased a new bat detector to be used on visitor hikes in the park. It is called an Eco Meter Touch 2 by Wildlife Acoustics and it uses smartphone technology to display bats ultrasonic echolocation calls as they fly and identifies the bat species.
While we see bats and even here them occasionally, with this new technology Rangers can quickly identify the type of bats that are here in real time. We can record their sounds and even email them to visitors on the hike. Interpretive Ranger Erin Bennett used the detector for the first time on Thursday. “It is so exciting to know exactly what kind of bats are flying around out there in the dark. Now when a visitor asks, I can tell them definitively,” Bennett said. She found five different species of bats flying just east of the Deschutes River –
Learn more about Oregon’s bats by joining Cove staff on night hikes at The Cove this summer or go online to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s websites Living with Wildlife, Bats page including a fun batty for bats flyer, plans for building bat houses and information on White Nose Syndrome.