A Bat Blitz Is Coming

            For four days in early August Montgomery County will be the host for a convergence of the leading minds in the study of bats.  This year the Southeastern Bat Diversity Network has chosen the Uwharrie National Forest as its focus area for its annual Bat Blitz.  In previous years the Blitz has been held on other national forest lands throughout the southeast.  Last yearís Blitz was held in Arkansas on the Ouachita National Forest and included nearly forty scientists and students.

            Plans for this yearís Blitz are still being compiled.  However, one thing is for sure.  Come August, Montgomery County will see a dramatic rise in the number of people scavenging the forest late at night in search of bats.  I donít have the exact numbers available but Iím guessing the current list of people actively seeking bats is somewhere at or below zero. 

            Bats are one of the truly unique species of animals.  Even though they fly they are still considered mammals.  They have very poor eyesight and thus rely on a fascinating radar system to track down and capture their prey, which consists mostly of insects.  As you know, they are almost completely nocturnal choosing to spend the daylight hours resting in places like caves, dead trees, and under bridges.  And contrary to popular lore, bats are not prone to laying eggs in peopleís hair.

            Because of these oddities bats are one of the greatly understudied species in the world.  In this part of North Carolina , in particular, there is almost no background data to provide these scientists with an idea of what to expect.  They may be able to capture and study up to twelve different species of bats during the Blitz.  The data that is recorded will become valuable in setting a baseline for any future studies that may result.  So get ready Montgomery County , a Bat Blitz is heading your way.