Local news station highlights TWS bat biologists

TWS members and bat biologists Kristi Confortin and Katherine Etchison were recently spotlighted in the local television news in Raleigh, North Carolina for their contributions to a bat blitz.

A bat blitz is a coordinated surveying effort where volunteers help sample the bat community in a designated area.

“There’s a lot of work to be done with bats,” said Etchison, a wildlife biodiversity biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Etchison is leading one of 11 teams of scientists on the bat blitz to survey the area for what bats are showing up as well as recording other data on them.

The video shows the Etchison and her group of four students catching bats, including eastern red bats (Lasiurus borealis), big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) and Rafinesque’s big eared bats (Corynorhinus rafinesquii) in mist nets and subsequently banding their forearms.

The team also detected white-nose syndrome on one tricolored bat (Perimyotis subflavus). There are 17 bat species in North Carolina, and three are listed as federally endangered.

“I would like people to know that bats are friends with wings,” Confortin said in the video. “Bats come out at night and do our dirty work.”

Check out the video here.

Header Image: A bat team caught multiple species like the Rafinesque’s big eared bat pictured here. ©USFWS/Gary Peeples