Western Bat Survey
Techniques Workshop

Southwestern Research Station • Portal, AZ • May 15-19, 2013


Bats are vital components of healthy ecosystems world wide, yet they are some of the most misunderstood and difficult-to-study animals on our planet.

Bat Conservation and Management, Inc. (BCM), has been providing bat survey services for over a decade. In 2013, our staff will share tips and techniques for performing effective and efficient bat inventory and monitoring projects at several field-training sites throughout the country.

Our western workshop in the heart of the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona is at an ecological crossroads of unparalleled species diversity, where bats are no exception. Twenty-one different species of bats have been documented within 5-miles of our headquarters.

This workshop provides students with hands-on opportunity to investigate, handle, identify, net, trap and acoustically record an impressive diversity of bats and is ideal for wildlife biologists, environmental consultants, teachers, students, and naturalists from all backgrounds.

Up to 21 species of bats; species in a 5 mile radius than anywhere else in a ruggedly beautiful part of the US.


Program Details
Our workshop location at the American Museum of Natural History's renowned Southwestern Research Station puts us in the heart of one of the most spectacular western wilderness habitats, yet allows us to stay and work in unexpected comfort. The Station provides three hearty meals daily, climate controlled lecture rooms, and fully appointed overnight accommodations. With its location at an elevation of 5,000 feet, the Station is nestled in a lush, riparian canyon shaded by oaks, sycamores, cypress, and cottonwoods, tucked away like a pearl in an otherwise rugged and harsh landscape. Our fieldwork during this course will take us from the desert floor to high-elevation pine forest, all without having to travel more than 12 miles from the station.

The workshop takes advantage of the remarkably accessible habitat diversity and combines indoor classroom lectures and discussions with outdoor field outings, many within walking distance of our classroom. Participants will learn about the local bat fauna before going out in the field to encounter them up close and personal using mist nets and harp traps. Capture, handling, identification, data-collection, marking, and monitoring will be demonstrated using all current WNS protocols for disinfection and decontamination. Students will have opportunities to combine habitat assessments with physical capture methods and acoustic recording to document species occupancy and learn first-hand about conducting comprehensive inventory and monitoring methods. See below for a complete list of lecture and discussion topics, demonstrations, and evening field activities. Daily goals and objectives for the course are described more fully at the bottom of this page. And an annotated draft agenda is
available for download here.

Western Bat Survey Techniques Workshop is open to biologists and naturalists from federal, state, or local agencies, college and/or graduate students, and other professionals or enthusiasts with a desire to learn more about full-spectrum echolocation recording and bat call analysis using SonoBat software. No prior experience is necessary. Students are not required to handle bats, so rabies pre-exposure vaccination is not required.

One session: May 15-19 (Wednesday-Sunday). Class size: Limited to 20 students. Location: Southwestern Research Station, Portal AZ.

Workshop Instructors:

Janet Tyburec, B.A. Biology and B.A. English (1989) Trinity University, a full-time employee at Bat Conservation International, Inc. (BCI), from 1989 thru September 2002, has been involved in the structure and execution of training workshops since the inception of BCI's educational efforts in 1992. She received extensive training in bat ecology and research from BCI founder, Merlin D. Tuttle. She has been a contract employee for BCI since 2002 and has also taught field workshops for Bat Conservation and Management (BCM) since 2007. Over the years, she has personally trained over 2,500 wildlife biologists, land managers, and students of conservation in the course of presenting over 150 field workshops. She is currently a private contractor and provides training and instruction on bat research, inventory, and monitoring for numerous private, federal and state agencies, including the USDA Forest Service, USDI National Park Service, USDI Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Department of Defense. Through these efforts she has designed and conducted custom training workshops for agency directors, staff, wildlife biologists, resource managers, seasonal employees, and volunteers..

John Chenger president of Bat Conservation and Management, Inc. (BCM), has worked with the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) to conduct cave and mine assessments and other bat inventories. He has also worked with BCI since 1997 to facilitate training workshops in Arizona, California, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. He founded BCM in 1999 to address nuisance bat management issues by providing man-made roosts and performing bat-exclusion and bat- proofing services. His company has grown to include seasonal bat roost and habitat surveys, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&WS) endangered species compliance inventories, acoustic monitoring studies, and large-scale migratory bat radio-tracking projects. His work has led him to develop and manufacture commercially available survey gear including mist net poles, portable triple-high mist-net sets, harp traps, and bat houses certified by BCI. He has also served as Director of Interpretation at Laurel Caverns for 5 years.

Additional colleagues with decades of bat study and research experience will assist our primary instructors with demonstrations and nighttime field activities. These “bat wranglers” have intimate knowledge about bat survey techniques and allow for additional one-on-one time between students and teachers. They bring a diversity of experiences and multiple approaches for solving bat survey challenges to our course. Students will benefit immensely from working with and learning from everyone on the team, and will leave the workshop with an excellent foundation for moving forward with their own future studies.

Lectures and discussions cover a full range of bat natural history, identification, capture, and handling skills. Survey techniques covered during the course include, physical capture methods, acoustic monitoring, marking and banding, radio tracking, and data recording, analysis and reporting. A summary of topics includes:

Introduction to regional bat natural history, distribution, and morphological identification

Physical capture techniques using harp traps, mist nets, and other situation-specific methods

Summary of bat detectors and acoustic monitoring

Viewing and recording bats using video, night-vision/infra-red cameras, and thermal imaging

Assessing habitat for bats and micro-siting for effective surveys

Tips on bat detector use and deployment for acoustic inventories

Basic introduction to call characteristics for bat identification on the basis of echolocation calls

Marking and banding for long-term studies

Radio-tracking techniques for collecting foraging and roosting data on bat species of interest

New and emerging technologies to advance the science of bat research

Evening Practicums:
Instructors will provide guided, hands-on demonstrations during both daytime and nighttime field practicums. Participants will work in small groups, providing added opportunity for individual instruction. Topics will include:

Deploying single-, double-, and triple-high mist nets

Assembling and siting harp traps

Combining harp traps and mist nets in geometric combinations to increase capture success

Conducting active, passive, and mobile bat-detector deployments

Adding acoustic inventories efforts to assess survey protocols and refine occupancy estimates

Simulated radio-tracking efforts to identify bat roosting resources

Comparing effects of effort, habitat diversity, capture methods, and survey conditions on inventory results

Addressing power, security, and weatherproofing for long-term, passive deployments

Allow extra time pre or post workshop to explore the canyons
and world class birding opportunities


Four nights of hands on micro-siting nets and traps.


The iconic view from the research station


Radio telemetry session including a hands-on simulation..


Student led site setup using 1H, 2H, 3H nets and 6'x12' harp traps

Western Bat Survey
Techniques Workshop

Location and Directions: The American Museum of Natural History's Southwestern Research Station is located about 5-miles from the tiny town of Portal in southeastern Arizona, near the New Mexico border. The nearest major city is Tucson (airport code TUS), which is about 3 hours by vehicle. Participants might also find better flights and connections by flying into Phoenix (PHX) another 1-1/2 hours north of Tucson. There is no cellphone service at the Station or within the canyon at the majority of our field sites. More information about travel to the Station, is available at: http://research.amnh.org/swrs/about-swrs/directionsclimate

Dates and times: May 15 (Wednesday) thru May 19 (Sunday). Check-in begins at noon on Monday May 15, outside the Southwestern Research Station Nature Center. The first classroom session begins promptly at 1pm. Formal presentations will conclude by noon on Sunday May 19. NOTE: Arizona does not participate in daylight savings time and remains on Mountain Standard Time year round, please plan your travel to arrive in the area accordingly.

Southwestern Research Station Lodging:
Due to the remoteness of our location and paucity of nearby alternate lodging, overnight lodging is included with this workshop for the nights of 15-18 May. Lodging is dormitory style, with up to 3 people per room. A pro-rated registration fee for participants wishing to attempt to find off-site lodging is not available.

General Equipment: Participants need to bring appropriate field gear, including hiking boots, a headlamp with batteries, a personal pack, sunscreen, bat handling glove, a supply of latex gloves for compliance with WNS protocols, and a water bottle. Participants will need proof rabies pre-exposure vaccination to handle bat during this course and should plan to obtain the three-shot series at least one month prior to attendance. Proof of sufficient rabies antibody tire (dated no more than 2 years prior to the start of the course) will also be accepted. Field locations can be surprisingly cool at night, please bring a jacket and dress appropriately for evening activities. Bring clothing and footwear that can get wet. We will be visiting natural cave entrances, but not physically entering them, therefore WNS decontamination is not required. A comprehensive list suggesting a full range of items to bring to the course will be sent to all registered participants prior to the class.

Meals: All meals from Dinner on Monday May 20th to Breakfast on Friday May 24th are included with the registration fee. Please indicate with your registration if you require vegetarian meals. There is a small convenience store in Portal where food, beverages and other essentials can be purchased during limited hours. Other grocery stores and chain restaurants are 60-80 miles away in Willcox, San Simon, or Douglas AZ or in Lordsburg NM. The nearest gas stations are in San Simon or Lordsburg. Travelers should plan their food and fuel needs accordingly.

The Fine Print:
Please note, field logistics force us to limit workshop attendance. Registration and payment is required to reserve your slot! Full payment must be received before April 1 to confirm your reservation. Reservations cannot be held without payment. After April 1, reservations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, only if space is still available. Daily rates for this event are not available. Fees are not refundable after April 1, 2013 but are transferable to another participant for this course only, if you are unable to attend. Please note, if you do not cancel and do not attend, you are still responsible for payment.

Meals not specifically indicated as included, transportation to and from the workshop location, and any pre- or post-lodging fees to facilitate travel are not included.

Dressing in layers is recommended due to variation between daytime high temperatures and nighttime lows.

Please, no audio or video recording presentations.

Presentations, agendas, and field locations are subject to change without notice according to group dynamics and local conditions.

If the purpose of attending a BCM workshop is to help you maintain or improve skills related to employment or business, expenses related to the programs may be tax-deductible according to I.R.C. Reg. 1.162-5. Please consult your tax advisor.

Western Bat Survey Techniques Workshop


1. Summarize previous nights' capture and acoustic inventory results, describing what we have discovered and how to modify our efforts to document additional species.

2. Make a study design to use acoustics to sample habitats we have been unable to net and trap thus far and/or design protocols for conducting mobile acoustic transects.

3. Highlight methods for automatically analyzing echolocation recordings using SonoBat, EchoClass, BCID and/or Kaleidoscope software programs and how to compare confidence ranges.

4. Case Studies: Species accumulation curves, combining capture and acoustic inventories to increase effectiveness and efficiency of species occupancy surveys.

5. Review of Relevant Case Studies: When bats become a problem, balancing development with conservation - from dealing with bats in buildings to ESA compliance surveys.

Day 5: SUMMING IT ALL UP - Goals:

1. Discuss how this week's effort compared to previous years of inventory and monitoring.

2. Emphasize responsible data collection, survey project proposals, reporting efforts and answer any lingering questions students have with the workshop design, equipment use, and/or data analysis.

3. Share data collected, photos and video, recordings, and resources; and distribute evaluations.


1. To bring everyone up to speed on the diversity and natural history of regional bat species and local habitat resources.

2. Discuss morphological identification characteristics of area bats in depth prior to starting capture efforts.

3. Demonstrate mist-net and harp-trap deployment, data collection, and in-field WNS protocols.


1. Illustrate habitat use and recommended survey methods for local bat species.

2. Provide a comprehensive review of available capture methods, and their appropriateness for different habitat types, for targeting specific bats of interest, and for satisfying recommended survey protocols.

3. Show how to view, record, and count bats using video, night-vision/infra-red cameras, and thermal imaging.

4. Provide a basic introduction to bat detectors for listening to and recording bat activity.


1. Illustrate data-collection and reporting protocols for summarizing inventory efforts

2. Highlight bat echolocation and call characteristics for confident species identification.

3. Demonstrate radio-tracking methods for assessing bat foraging, roosting, and migratory behavior.

4. Discuss marking, banding, and other methods for long-term bat studies.

5. Compare and contrast point-count vs. mobile bat surveys using acoustic inventory techniques.


Questions may be directed to:
Janet Tyburec
John Chenger

IRSonyCamera poles1T

BCM workshops introduce users to all of today's most advanced field gear with guided hands-on opportunities to use the following equipment:
Avinet USA-made mist nets
Avinet and BCM portable, aluminum, single-high mist net pole sections
BCM double-high mist net poles
BCM, portable triple-high mist net system
BCM, portable large harp traps
Sony Night-shot DVR and IRLamp6 LED infra-red illuminators
Marshal radio-tracking antenna/receiver units
Holohil and/or Titley radio-transmitters
SonoBat Acoustic Analysis Software
Myotisoft Transect Mobile Acoustic Transect Visualizer
Pettersson D240x, D500x, D1000x bat detectors
Binary Acoustic Technology AR125 & iFR-IV ultrasonic recorders
Wildlife Acoustics SM2BAT+ & EM3 ultrasonic recorders
Elekon Batlogger bat detector