Florida Bonneted Bat Surveys

Bat Conservation and Management, Inc. specializes in multiple fieldwork services concerning the federally threatened Northern Long-eared bat and can custom tailor your field study according to your individual project needs. With USFWS permitted staff across the United States, BCM has completed a wide array of habitat, acoustic, physical capture, and radio telemetry surveys, supporting partners such as consulting firms, wind facilities, gas pipelines, transmission lines, timber sales, mining, highway construction, and wildlife agencies. In addition, BCM also provides logistical, field, and technical support to its partners collaborating on large projects to ensure the most efficient and thorough survey possible.

About the Florida Bonneted Bat. The Florida Bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus), also known as the Florida Mastiff bat, is considered to have one of the smallest and most restricted ranges of all bats. As a federally listed "critically endangered" species, this rare animal can only be found in southern parts of the state of Florida and is also known to be a "high-flyer", making them extremely elusive and difficult to capture. Due to this fact, there remain many gaps in knowledge in regard to the ecology of this species, instigating several efforts to study and assist in the conservation and management of this endangered species. The Bonneted bat¹s diet consists of a variety of flying insects including moths, mosquitoes, beetles and potentially ground insects, due to its unique ability to take flight from the ground. Because of its large size and low frequency echolocation, this is one of the few bats that can be audibly heard by the human ear.

Preferred Habitat. Although not much is known about the behavior of this species, the Bonneted bat has been most often documented roosting in man-made structures, palms and hollow trees. Having such a limited distribution, this species is only known to occur in a handful of southeastern Florida counties. Also known to be a year-round resident, the Bonneted bat is active throughout the year and does not migrate during the winter season. Florida Bonneted bats may have young any time of the year, complicating management and mitigation efforts.

Reasons for Listing. With an estimated few-hundred to few-thousand Bonneted bats remaining in the wild, extra care should be taken to understand the potential impact of certain environmental threats. Natural disasters specific to Florida, such as hurricanes, could severely impact the Bonneted bat population. This largely due to the bat¹s very limited distribution and consequently, its high risk of range-wide impact. Ultimately these factors along with loss of habitat and natural roosting sites are what is believed to most threaten the Florida bonneted bat population and what have contributed most to its listing as a federally endangered species.

Florida Bonneted Bat Services We Provide

Acoustic Monitoring. Due to the relatively distinct call frequency produced by the Bonneted bat for the purpose of echolocation, acoustic monitoring is an ideal method by which to sample for these bats. This "acoustic capture method" is currently the technique favored to determine Bonneted bat presence ot probably absence. The Bonneted bat is also one of the few bats that can actually be heard with the unaided ear, meaning that it produces very low frequency call pulses. To the trained eye, these sonograms become very easy to distinguish when sorting out bat species from a large group of data, resulting in the potential for highly accurate identification for this species.

However, careful attention needs to be given to the analysis of acoustic recordings as the common Brazillian Free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis), commonly found throughout nearly all of Florida, can easily produce social calls at any time which in certain situations can generate false positive results of Florida Bonneted bats in automated bat call analysis software. BCM takes acoustic surveys extremely seriously and manually reviews automated results to confirm or reject results of computer-aided analysis.

For several years BCM has been on the forefront of acoustic monitoring, hosting a large variety of workshops and instructional programs for both bat capture and acoustic monitoring techniques and survey methods. With a wide array of full-spectrum acoustic monitoring and survey options and services, BCM is fully equipped with the necessary tools and equipment to provide you with the highest quality custom acoustic monitoring survey possible.

BCM understands the oft-experienced time constraints associated with certain projects and is happy to consult with clients in order to determine what the best approach is in order to complete the work needed while remaining in compliance with state and federal agency regulations.

As with all results of the fieldwork studies we offer, acoustic data is saved and permanently recorded in its original form for reporting and future recall.

Habitat or Roost Survey. Do you have Florida Bonneted Bat habitat? BCM will provide a biologist to fully inspect and examine potential habitat for your species of interest. During your habitat survey, any potential suitable habitat that is encountered will be permanently documented with photographs, appropriate forms, as well as GPS ³search² tracks to and from the areas of interest. In providing the highest quality data possible, BCM is also diligent in recording areas surveyed that may be of sub-par quality, (noted as: ³For the record only²) but useful in creating a more robust assessment of your entire project area.

Florida Bonneted bat habitat extends to artifical roosts; bat houses, buildings, and other structures. BCM has various visual, acoustic, video, and thermal video tools to properly verify species presence and obtain accurate roost counts in order to best estimate colony size.

Summer Mist Net Survey. BCM is no stranger to mist-netting for Indiana bats and has successfully surveyed thousands of individual mist net sites since 2000. If your project is in need of mist-netting, BCM is able to offer thorough, fast, and efficient sampling of your project area. This type of summer bat surveying technique is most often conducted for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Cataloguing species presence in areas that may be impacted by new construction
  • Searching for threatened or endangered species in areas prior to timber sales or development
  • Acquiring baseline data for a region or rare species that has not been fully studied

Once your mist-netting project has been planned, BCM is very efficient in carrying your survey from start to finish. Sampling in accordance with the draft Indiana bat recovery plan, your local US Fish and Wildlife office, as well as your state¹s wildlife agency guidelines, we make sure you are in full compliance with the latest protocols and guidelines.

As with most of the fieldwork studies that are offered by BCM, mist-netting is very season-specific and requires a good amount of attention to planning. However, BCM offers several levels of this service from technical assistance/equipment for collaboration with our partners to all-inclusive project management.

Radio Telemetry
Often times radio telemetry is conducted in conjunction with an ongoing mist-netting project, and is even required in some instances. Depending on your specific needs, BCM is capable of providing the necessary equipment and expertise that will thoroughly and effectively satisfy your telemetry requirements. Having one of the most extensive arrays of telemetry equipment, we are equipped to take on small to very large projects that other contractors may not be outfitted to do. Due to a bat¹s propensity to sometimes travel long distances, an ill-equipped crew can lead to ³lost² bats, ultimately causing delays and repeat work that quickly add up in time and money. Keep in mind that depending on your species of interest, transmitters can take up to 3 months to receive once ordered, so plan accordingly!

Whether you are interested in summer foraging routes, roost identification, or Indiana bat migration, these surveys are best planned in conjunction with advisement from the regional US Fish and Wildlife Service office and state wildlife agencies. In addition, having a team of highly experienced trackers can be essential to successful telemetry efforts, a commodity that BCM is proud to be able to offer its clients.

Next steps . . .

If you have any questions regarding any of these field study services or would like a custom quote, please contact John Chenger at jchenger@batmanagement.com

Have you already conducted an acoustic survey and looking for a second opinion on your data? BCM may be able to help with its Professional Acoustic Data Analysis Service.