Western Bat Survey
Techniques Workshop

Southwestern Research Station • Portal, AZ • May 16-22, 2014
(This venue is full, registration is closed. Please email jtyburec@mac.com to be placed on a waiting list if you are able to make last minute travel plans. Please also see our similar KY venue.)

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 2014, our staff will share tips and techniques for performing effective and efficient bat inventory and monitoring projects at premiere field 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.

Participants will also gain valuable understanding of the theory and practice of recording and analyzing bat echolocation calls, with special emphasis on the possible pitfalls and proven solutions for successful species identification. The SonoBat software package, developed by Joe Szewczak (Arcata CA), is the premiere bat echolocation signal analysis package available to display, analyze, and discriminate between bat calls. During this course Joe himself, assisted by BCM staff, will train students in the use of SonoBat for a variety of acoustic monitoring techniques relevant to bat inventories across western habitats. These activities will provide unparalleled opportunity to collect voucher call recordings from more species of bats than any other single location in the United States.


Up to 21 species of bats in 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 prepared 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 arid 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 receive an introduction to the use of SonoBat software for conducing acoustic monitoring and inventories as well as a comprehensive understanding of echolocation call characteristics used for species identification in this rich habitat. Guided classroom demonstrations and hands-on experience with equipment in the field will acquaint participants with the full range of methods, techniques, and technologies available for surveying bats in almost any western habitat. 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.And an annotated draft agenda is available for download here.

The 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. Participants will need proof of rabies pre-exposure vaccination to handle bats during this course. This is a three-shot series and students should plan to finish the 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. Participants who prefer not to handle bats and who would like to focus on non-contact survey methods do not need to obtain rabies vaccinations.

One session: 16 ­ 22 May (Friday-Thursday). Class size: Limited to 20 students. Location: Southwestern Research Station, Portal AZ.


Lectures & Discussions:
Lectures and demonstrations 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. Bat echolocation and acoustic monitoring subjects, with a focus on the use of SonoBat software for designing inventory and monitoring programs for western bat species. 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
  • 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
  • Introduction to bat bioacoustics, echolocation, and bat detectors
  • Hands-on demonstration with a wide range of bat detector models
  • Bat detector use in the field for active and passive monitoring
  • Bat monitoring program designs and choosing the right bat detector for the job
  • Introduction to SonoBat software for recording and signal analysis
  • Call characteristics for bat identification on the basis of echolocation calls
  • Auto-classification using SonoBat 3.2.0, data handling, file storage, and interpretation
  • 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 evening and nighttime field practicums. Participants will work in small groups for added opportunity for individual instruction. Participants can choose to focus on any aspect(s) of the course during the field practicums and tailor their participation to their specific interests and/or needs.

  • 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
  • Key morphological characteristics to help identify bats ³on the wing²
  • Adding acoustic inventories efforts to assess survey protocols and refine occupancy estimates
  • Conducting active, passive, and mobile bat-detector deployments
  • Deployment tips to improve recording quality and confident classifications
  • Passive setups using bat detectors and digital audio recorders (e.g., Pettersson D240x and Samson Zoom) and using direct recording detectors (e.g., Binary Acoustics Technology AR125 & iFR-IV, Pettersson D500x & D1000x, Wildlife Acoustics SM2BAT+ & EM3)
  • Active monitoring using bat detectors, tips for following bats, and hands-on opportunities to collect voucher recordings
  • Implementing mobile acoustic transects
  • Addressing power, security, and weatherproofing for long-term, passive deployments
  • Simulated radio-tracking efforts to identify bat roosting resources
  • Comparing effects of effort, habitat diversity, capture methods, and survey conditions on inventory results

Workshop Instructors:
Joe Szewczak, B.S.E. (1980) Duke University, Ph.D. (1991) Brown University, is an Associate Professor at Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA. His research has investigated the physiological capabilities of bats and other small mammals, from cold hibernative torpor to the intense demands of flight and high altitude, and the physiological ecology of bats. His teaching includes ³Using SonoBat for Non-invasive Bat Monitoring² for the University of California, ³Biology of the Chiroptera² at Humboldt State University, and ³The Ecology and Conservation of California Bats² through San Francisco State University. Joe has also taught acoustic monitoring workshops for BCI and other groups in California, Oregon, Arizona, Washington, South Dakota, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. He is the developer of SonoBat software to analyze and interpret bat echolocation calls and is currently working on automated bird and bat acoustic monitoring and identification methods for the Department of Defense (SERDP) and other agencies

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 2,700 wildlife biologists, land managers, and students of conservation in the course of presenting over 160 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 ³bat wranglers² have intimate knowledge about bat survey techniques and allow for additional one-on-one time between students and teachers and to pursue individual goals for their participation.

All of our trainers 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.

The iconic view from the research station.


More bat species in a 5 mile radius than anywhere else in the US.


Six nights of hands on micro-siting nets and traps


Nightly opportunities for active recording, passive deployments, and obtaining voucher calls with live bats captured nearby.


Rig your vehicle, conduct mobile transects,
then visualize results the next day using Transect & Google Earth

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 vast 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: 16 May (Friday) thru 22 May (Thursday). Check-in begins at noon on Friday 16 May, outside the Southwestern Research Station Nature Center. The first classroom session begins promptly at 1pm. Formal presentations will conclude by noon on Thursday 22 May. NOTE: Arizona does not participate in daylight savings time and remains on Mountain Standard Time (MST) year round, please plan your travel accordingly to arrive in the area on time.

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 Day 1-6. 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. Those wishing to arrive early or stay late should make their own lodging arrangements with SWRS or with one of several small hotels in Portal (reservations strongly suggested). While there is no cell service at SWRS, there is station-wide WiFi. that guests may use internet phone services (Skype, etc.)

All meals from Dinner on Friday 16 May to Breakfast on Thursday 22 May are included with the registration fee. Please indicate with your registration if you require vegetarian meals or if you have any life-threatening food allergies. Other special diets (e.g., gluten free, low fat, Paleo, etc.) are not possible. Filtered water is provided free of charge at the Station. Staff will provide day-long coffee and tea resources (e.g., coffee, filters, electric coffee makers, electric kettles, sugar and creamer). Participants are welcome to bring their own favorite or essential coffee/tea blends. There is a small convenience store in Portal where food, beverages, and other essentials can be purchased during limited hours. The Station Nature Store has a limited selection of snacks and beverages. 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.

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 if needed. 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 full 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.

Acoustic Equipment: Students should bring personal bat recording gear, laptops and connecting cables. We will have a number of full-spectrum bat detectors available including a number of Pettersson D240x and D500x detectors for participants to borrow. We will also have several Wildlife Acoustics SM2BAT+ and EM3 units available. There will be smaller numbers of Pettersson D1000x, Binary Acoustic Technology AR125 and iFR-IV models, and an Elekon Batlogger to demo. A generous, fully functional trial version of SonoBat 3.2.0 will be available to install on student laptops prior to the workshop. It is important to take advantage of this opportunity PRIOR to arrival to participate fully in the guided software demonstrations and post-processing of field recordings. Software download and install instructions (for MAC OSX or Microsoft Windows) will be provided to all registered participants two-weeks prior to the start of the course.

Any participants who have already invested in a detector brand or model should bring it to the class. Being familiar with the basic operation of the detector and how to connect it to a laptop and/or off-load recordings to a laptop prior to the workshop is helpful. Please bring any appropriate digital media storage devices (2GB or larger is suggested) to collect recordings and/or share data. One field trip will include a mobile (driving or walking) transect; students may use their own equipment during this exercise, and should be sure to consider power and portability issues. AnaBat users interested in the full spectrum detectors and SonoBat workflow are welcome. However, remember that SonoBat is not compatible with AnaBat recordings. AnaBat software and workflow necessitates its own dedicated workshop to cover comprehensively and therefore will not be formally covered at this workshop due to time constraints. Even participants with their own equipment may borrow workshop equipment to test side-by-side during the course.

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 1 April 2014 to confirm your reservation. Reservations cannot be held without payment. After 1 April , 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 1 April 2014 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 in full. 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. Please, no audio or video recording. 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.

2014 Western Bat Survey
Techniques Workshop

Cost: $1480.00 per participant w/early registration discount
($1580 after April 1, 2014)
7 days/6 nights+17 meals in Portal, AZ


A major component of BCM workshops is to avoid guessing games with species ID. You will be able to record real calls from expertly identified bats.




Draft Agenda


View the currently available
draft agenda for this venue

Western Bat Survey Techniques Workshop Daily Goals and Objectives

Day 4: Vetting Automated Survey Results

1. Introduce students to SonoBat 3.0, basic operations, and what the output means for rendering species ID decisions (i.e., dispelling the quickly emerging myth and explaining carefully that calls identified with a DP of 0.95 DOES NOT mean that there's a 95% chance that the recording was from the species indicated).

2. Continue guided hands-on experience with the software to verify species ID classifications, managing the SonoBatch data output, and vetting results of the auto-classifier.

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

4. 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 a mobile acoustic transects through our study site.


Day 5: Putting it All Together-Combining Survey Methods

1. Summarize previous nights' capture and acoustic inventory results, describing what we have discovered and taking bat natural history into account to modify our efforts to document additional species.

2. Illustrate protocols for reporting on inventory and monitoring programs using acoustics, determining species occupancy, and understanding ambiguous results.


3. Discuss active vs. passive monitoring and how these techniques figure into an acoustic survey.

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

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

6. Case Studies: Using acoustics to document bat activity outside roosts, tips for successful deployments, and using temporal clues to aid in occupancy determinations.


Day 6: Additional Survey and Analysis Tools:

1. Illustrate steps to convert full-spectrum recordings to Zero-cross format and workflow for analysis in EchoClass and BCID software programs.

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

3. Emphasize responsible use of auto-classification tools for acoustic surveys and answering any lingering questions students have with the detectors, recorders, software, and/or analysis.

4. Instructors assist with vetting auto-classification results in small groups, using student-collected recordings.

5. Discuss current and future applications of acoustic monitoring for bat surveys, new technologies on the horizon, and responsible use of automated classifiers.

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


Day 7: Summing it all Up. What have we learned?

1. Instructors guide students in off-loading, post-processing, and vetting previous night¹s recordings.

2. Summarize habitat use and recommended survey methods for local bat species.

3. 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.

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

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

Day 1: Introduction to Physical Capture Techniques

1. Bring students 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. 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.

4. Demonstrate mist-net and harp-trap deployment, data collection, bat-handling and processing, and in-field WNS protocols.


Day 2: Intro to Acoustic Recording Techniques

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

2. Review marking, banding, and other methods for long-term bat monitoring studies.

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

4. Review the pros, cons, and applications of HET, FD, TE, and DR detectors to collect and interpret bat echolocation calls and what this means for acoustic inventory study design.

5. Bring students up to speed on the physics of sound, how bats use different call types to collect information about their surroundings, and what this means to our eventual goal of identifying bats to species based on cues we collect from echolocation calls.

6. Give students experience working with different detector models from the main manufactures, allowing participants to test-drive unfamiliar units, become more familiar with their own gear, and/or make an informed future purchase.

7. Demonstrate micro-siting nets, traps, and detectors to maximize capture and recording success.


Day 3: Post-processing and Beginning Acoustic ID

1. Provide students with a template for data-organization and file storage allowing more efficient post-processing for the remainder of the workshop.

2. Assist students with the different workflows for off-loading collected calls collected with different passive recording methods, before using SonoBat 2.9 to organize, group and analyze calls.

3. Review (or introduction to) basic SonoBat 2.9 use.

4. Explain the importance of call libraries, understanding species-specific echolocation call repertoires, and the need for experience with active monitoring, call collections from known species, and time in the field with the bats and the detectors BEFORE trying to manually (or automatically) identify unknown bat calls to species.

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

6. Address bat echolocation call characteristics and what is known about using these for making species ID determinations, including caveats, and confusing species.

7. Assist students with setting up TE and DR detectors and recorders to perform passive monitoring activities








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
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
Sony FS700 high-speed camera
FLIR thermal camera
ATN thermal viewer
ATN night vision viewer

Marshal radio-tracking antenna/receiver units
Holohil radio-transmitters
SonoBat Acoustic Analysis Software
Pettersson D240x, D500x, M500, D1000x bat detectors
Binary Acoustic Technology AR125 series, iFR-IV, MiniMic ultrasonic recorders
Wildlife Acoustics SM2BAT+, SM3, EM3, and Echometer Touch ultrasonic recorders
Elekon BatLogger and BatScanner bat detector
Batbox Baton

Other software demonstrated:
Spect'r - Transect - BCID - EchoClass - Kaleidoscope Pro - MS Excel - Google Earth




Questions may be directed to:
Janet Tyburec
John Chenger


Hands on SonoBat 3 software with automated batch analysis feature