Indiana Bat Habitat Surveys & Fieldwork

Indiana bat survey

 About the Indiana Bat

 Native to North America, the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) is a federally endangered species of bat found in the eastern United States. Weighing less than 10 grams, this small "mouse-eared" bat can have a chestnut-brown to almost black colored fur, and is distinguishable from similar-looking species by its foot characteristics and coloration.

These bats enjoy a wide variety of flying insects‹depending on geographic location, the Indiana bat is known to indulge in things like beetles, moths, leafhoppers, small flying aquatic insects, and mosquitoes. Capable of eating nearly half of their body-weight in insects every night, these animals are one of nature¹s most valuable pest controls for human beings.

Preferred Habitat

During the summer, preferred Indiana bat habitat include hardwood forests, riparian zones, and upland wooded areas within close proximity of rivers and streams. These bats commonly roost under loose tree bark and in dead trees, a common roost location for female bats and their young during maternity season.

During the winter months (November-March), these bats will hibernate in abandoned caves and deep mines where temperatures consistently remain under 50°F, but still above freezing. The cool, humid environment required by this bat greatly narrows down the list of available locations for this bat to hibernate during winter months, an important fact to remember when effectively managing this species.

Reasons for Listing

Indiana bats like to hibernate in large numbers and in only a handful of caves. Because of this, they are left extremely vulnerable to disturbance. Unfortunately, due to the potential of having such a large number of bats in a one area, a single disturbance event can ultimately result in the death of many hibernating bats. The main cause of listing, human disturbance, is known to be one of the leading factors in the decline of the Indiana bat population, as well as the more recent effects of White-nose syndrome (Pseudogymnoascus destructans). Conservation efforts have been made to reduce the likelihood of these exposures through things like cave gating and the practice of recommended decontamination techniques.


Indiana Bat Services BCM Provides


Habitat Survey

Do you have Indiana Bat habitat? BCM will provide a team of biologists 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: "For the record only") but useful in creating a more robust assessment of your entire project area.

Acoustic Monitoring

Conducting summer mist net surveys alone have the potential to leave some bat species in your sample area under-represented. Adding acoustic monitoring to your project can help draw a much more complete picture of your study area. However, depending on your specific project you may want to conduct an entirely acoustic survey. 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.

For several years BCM has been on the forefront of acoustic monitoring for bats. Host to many workshops and instructional programs, we offer a wide array of full-spectrum acoustic monitoring and survey options. BCM biologists are fully equipped with a wide selection of necessary tools and equipment to provide you with the highest quality custom acoustic monitoring survey possible. After collecting recordings in the field, all potential calls are analyzed through USFWS-approved auto-classification software, but this is often just a gross assessment. Our expert workshop staff with 40+ combined years of acoustic ID experiance are available to provide expert review of files flagged as species of interest.

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.

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

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.