In general, bats are difficult to study because they are nocturnal, fast fliers, roost in inconspicuous places and can move great distances in short periods of time. As such, lack of information on basic biology and ecology is one of the greatest limitations to conservation of bat species.
There are three ways that you can participate in this project:
1) Report sick or dead bats. With the spread of White-Nose syndrome, which can be fatal for bats, it is important that we track bat mortality.
2) Monitor bat roosts during the summer. Bat roost monitoring is simple and can be an enjoyable experience. Monitors identify bat roosts and sit outside the roost entrance in the evening to count the bats as they emerge. Bats will start to exit the roost just after sunset, and will emerge one or two at a time making counting easy. The bats will continue to exit for about 40 minutes. How often a roost gets counted is up to the volunteer, however the program appreciates at least two counts- one in early June and one in late July.
3) Conduct acoustic bat surveys in Wisconsin. Volunteers are trained to use handheld ultrasonic detectors, or bat detectors as they are affectionately called. The system consists of a detector that records the ultrasound, a PDA that displays the bat calls on a graph of frequency over time, and a GPS unit that tracks the route taken and pinpoints each bat call. Data is saved onto the PDA and analyzed in the office. Just like birds, bat species have different calls from each other. By looking at the frequency, shape and other characteristics of calls, the WBP can identify the species of bat that was recorded.