Mississippi Bat Working Group

Promoting bat research, conservation, and education

Mist Netting at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center

Becky Rosamond raising a mist net. (Photo: Mitch Robinson)

The Mississippi Bat Working Group recently partnered with the Audubon Society to host a program on bats at the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center. Over 30 participants, including several kids, gathered at the center in Holly Springs on the evening of June 27, 2019 to learn about our native bats and mist net with US Fish and Wildlife Service biologists.

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MBWG at Earth Day BioBlitz

Members of the group gathered at DeSoto National Forest for an Earth Day Bioblitz held on April 26-29. Participants shared their knowledge of various taxa and documented over 250 species during the event. The MS Bat Working Group mist netted on April 26 and 27, documenting three bat species and a Chuck-Will’s-widow. While Seminole bats were the most commonly encountered species, a big brown bat and an eastern red bat were also caught and released. For more information on the event, check out their project on iNaturalist.

Photo: Chester Martin
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2019 Annual Meeting

The Mississippi Bat Working Group had a great turnout for our annual meeting at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (MMNS) on March 28. The agenda included research updates from graduate students, the US Army Corp of Engineers, and the MS Department of Wildlife Fisheries and Parks. We also heard updates on the draft Mississippi bat conservation plan and state-wide monitoring efforts including the annual culvert blitz, cave and bridge surveys, and the annual mist net event. Tami Hudson of Possum Hollow Wildlife Rescue brought live bats, including the Northern yellow bat recovered from Ingall’s ship yard last fall. She provided tips on how to handle reports of injured or stressed bats.

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MBWG’s 15th Annual Mist Net Event September 25-26

The Mississippi Bat Working Group gathered at Trace State Park for the 15th Annual Mist Net Event.  Twenty-three bat enthusiasts netted two nights, covering 5 sites.  Despite unseasonal rainfall and localized flooding throughout the event, the group provided the first records for evening bats (Nycticeius humeralis) and eastern red bats (Lasiurus borealis) in Pontotoc County.

The MBWG would like to thank our event sponsors, Chester Martin and Wildlife Abatement (Rob McKay) for their support, along with all of the volunteers who scouted netting locations, served as team leaders, and traveled from across the southeast (and from Hawaii!) to help collect data.  We hope to see you all next year!

MS Museum of Natural Science and US Fish and Wildlife Service Partner to Protect Bat Habitat

One of two steel gates installed at Pitts Cave in Wayne County. Photo: Nicole Hodges / MMNS

 

The Clarion Ledger recently featured the work of the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in an article about Pitts Cave.  The agencies partnered with other volunteers this past summer to install two steel gates to prevent human access inside the cave.  Human activity within the cave can have negative – even if unintended – impacts on the hundreds of bats using the site as a maternity colony and wintering hibernacula.   Tricolored bats (Perimyotis subflavus) and Southeastern Myotis (Myotis austroriparius) are the two most common species documented inside the cave. 

B.A.T.S Workshop

Teachers play bat/moth at the B.A.T.S Workshop near Tupelo, MS / June 2018. Photo: Deb Waz/MDWFP

MDWFP staff hosted a B.A.T.S. (Baths and Teachers Seminar) workshop at the Natchez Trace Parkway in Tupelo in June.  Eleven teachers attended the event, which introduced participants to the bats of Mississippi through classroom sessions, hands-on activities, and a mist netting demo. 

Another workshop will be offered at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center on July 26, earning teachers 0.6 CEUs / 6 contact hours. For more information on the July event (or to reserve a spot) contact Mitch Robinson (mrrobinson@audubon.org).  

July 23 Bats of Tennessee Lecture

The Wolf River Conservancy has a summer lecture series, and the July 23 lecture is on the bats of Tennessee! Everyone welcome, please share with anyone that might be interested.  Lectures are at the Botanical Garden in Memphis.  Learn about the intriguing and important insect-eating bats that live in the Memphis area, how best to attract them, and why they need our help now more than ever—from bat expert Chris Grow. Chris completed his graduate work on bats at the University of Memphis under Dr. Michael Kennedy. For more information visit wolfriver.org.  

2018 Membership Meeting

Twenty-one bat enthusiasts met at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science on March 1, 2018 for the Mississippi Bat Working Group’s annual membership meeting.  The agenda included research and monitoring updates along with reporting on the MBWG’s 2017 accomplishments and plans for the coming year. 

Founding member Chester Martin recognized six members for their contributions to the MBWG’s mission:

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2018 Culvert Blitz

Photo: Katelin Cross/MDWFP

The 2nd Annual Culvert Blitz was held the weekend of January 5-7.  Participants included biologists and volunteers from across the state who inspected culverts for the presence of roosting bats.  In stark contrast to the unseasonably warm temperatures during last year’s survey, this year’s culvert blitz was marked by cold, icy conditions.  The results of the survey were exciting, as the MBWG completed 15 routes in the three-day survey period, checking a total of  234 culverts.  Over 3,000 bats were documented using the culverts, including tricolored bats (Perimyotis subflavus), Southeastern myotis (Myotis austroriparius), big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus), Rafinesque’s big-eared bats (Corynorhinus rafinesquii), and Brazilian free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis). (more…)

14th Annual Mist Net Event

The MBWG’s 14th Annual Mist Net Event was held in Amite and Pike counties in south Mississippi.  Twenty participants representing Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana gathered at Percy Quin State Park in McComb, Mississippi for two nights of mist netting.  Although the first night was slow, the group netted eight sites and collected data on twenty-one bats. Species captured included evening bats, eastern red bats, and big brown bats.  Thanks to all those who made this event possible, including our event sponsors, the Smith Family of Natchez and Chester Martin of Vicksburg.  

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NatureFest

Families got to visit the Mississippi Bat Working Group booth at the 2017 NatureFest, hosted by the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson.  Over 1,400 people attended NatureFest and learned about Mississippi’s natural resources this year!   Volunteers and staff from the Museum provided visitors with the opportunity to see live bats, and the MBWG also brought their photo station and fun activities for kids.   Thanks for all who stopped by to learn more about Mississippi’s wildlife!

Annual Meeting at Mississippi Museum of Natural Science

The Mississippi Bat Working Group held its 2017 membership and business meeting at the Museum of Natural Science on Thursday, February 9. Over 40 biologists and land managers from state and federal conservation agencies, natural resource graduate students, wildlife rehabilitators, environmental educators, master gardeners, and other bat enthusiasts attended.  There was a full agenda, including research presentations, updates for on-going monitoring within the State, report-outs on the MBWG’s activities and accomplishments in 2016, and planning for the upcoming year.  

Tentative plans for outreach events include hosting a booth at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science’s NatureFest on April 1 and the Mississippi State University Extension Service’s Wildlife Festival and BioBlitz in Tupelo, MS on April 22.  The 2017 mist net event will be held in September and potential locations include Copiah or Adams County.  A 2nd Annual Culvert Blitz will be organized for January 2018.  

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Park After Dark

img_7053MBWG members hosted a ‘chiroptophobia’ booth at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science’s ‘Park After Dark’ event on Friday, October 28.  Participants trick-or-treated throughout the museum and learned about the science behind their fears through fun games, challenges, and hands-on exploration stations.  Museum staff and volunteers hosted 2,574 kids and adults at this annual event. (Photo courtesy of Mississippi Museum of Natural Science.)

Wildlife Outdoor Learning Festival at Noxubee NWR

MBWG hosted a booth at Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge’s WOLF (Wildlife Outdoor Learning) Festival on September 24.  Families, scout troops, and others from the community came out to the event and learned about Mississippi’s native wildlife.  The MBWG booth featured an informational display along with a mist netting activity where kids could participate in a mock mist-net event.  Catching plastic bats, weighing, measuring, and releasing them gave participants an opportunity to learn about Mississippi’s bats and how biologists study them.

13th Annual MBWG Mist Net Event

The Mississippi Bat Working Group met in Grenada, MS for two nights of mist netting on September 20-21, 2016.  Twenty three biologists, teachers, and other bat enthusiasts netted at Malmaison Wildlife Management Area and Tallahatchie National Wildlife Refuge in Tallahatchie County, covering four sites each night. A total of 32 bats representing three species were netted over the course of the event.  We’d like to thank all of the people who came out to net and make our 13th mist net event a successful one!   (more…)

Third Annual Multi-State Bat Blitz

Rafinesque's big-eared bat Photo: Kathy Shelton

Photo: Kathy Shelton

The Southeastern Bat Diversity Network’s “Multi-State Bat Blitz” will be held from August 24-31, 2016.  The Blitz is a five-day window in the early fall where people throughout the Southeastern United States mist net in as many locations in each state as possible.  The Bat Blitz is a great opportunity to not only collect more information on Mississippi’s bats, it is also a great outreach opportunity where members can invite the general public to learn more about bats and their conservation.    Read more

 

 

The Amazing World of Bats

Chester Martin, founder of the MBWG, explained the unique adaptations of bats for survival in a nocturnal world with a program entitled “The Amazing World of Bats” at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. The event was well attended, with 120 participants including children and adults.  The program included a question and answer session covering a wide range of topics.

Trace Festival

On April 16, 2016, Becky Rosamond hosted a bat booth at the Trace Festival, hosted by the National Park Service’s Natchez Trace Parkway in Tupelo, MS.  The event included a mist net demonstration and several bats were captured and released.

14th Annual Meeting

On February 4, 2016, the Mississippi Bat Working Group met at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson, MS for their annual membership and business meeting.  Research and monitoring updates were presented by Cody Jordan and Dr. Rich Buccholz (University of Mississippi), Scott Veum (Mississippi State University), Kathy Shelton (Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks), Alison McCartney (Deep South Eco Group), Chester Martin, Becky Rosamond (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Kris Godwin (USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services), Shea Staten (US Army Corps of Engineers), and James Austin (US Fish and Wildlife Service).

12th Annual MBWG Mist Net Event

Mist Net 2015The Mississippi Bat Working Group converged on Delta National Forest on October 19-20, 2015 for two nights of mist netting in the Mississippi Delta.  A total of eight sites were netted, covering both the north and south end of the forest.  Habitats netted included open water (drying ponds), drainages, and areas adjacent to oxbow lakes.  Fifty-five bats representing six species were captured. Species included evening bat (40), southeastern bat (4), eastern red bat (3), big brown bat (2), Rafinesque’s big-eared bat (1), and eastern pipistrelle (tricolored bat; 1).  (Photo: Becky Rosamond).

13th Annual Meeting

The MBWG held its 13th annual meeting at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science on January 12, 2015. The meeting included research updates, outreach and education opportunities, reports from officers, and presentation of awards to active members.

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11th Annual Mist Net Event

Mist Net Event 2014(c)J.P. Coleman State Park in Tishomingo County was the setting for the MBWG’s 11th Annual Mist Net Event.  Twenty people participated in two nights of mist netting on and adjacent to the park on July 29-30, 2014.  A total of 34 bats were captured, including eastern red bat (9), southeastern myotis (5), eastern pipistrelle (tricolored bat; 3), and evening bat (1).  During the day, participants hiked at Tishomingo State Park, conducted bridge checks for bats, and networked with wildlife professionals from around the state. (Photo: Amber Floyd)

10th Annual Mist Net Event

DSC_0029The MBWG held its 10th Annual Mist Net Event at the Choctaw Reservation, and participants included conservation officers from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.  The event included nightly mist netting, a tour of the heritage museum, and a demonstration of traditional Choctaw cooking and stick ball.  In all, the group caught a total of 31 bats and a southern leopard frog.  Species captured included Seminole bat (1), eastern red bat (15), evening bat (12), and southeastern myotis (3).  Nearly half of the bats (14) were captured in a triple high net stretched across a dry gravel road surrounded by bottomland hardwood forest.  (Photo: Amber Floyd)

See photos from the event here.

11th Annual Meeting

The MBWG met on January 23, 2013 for the 11th Annual Meeting. Twenty-six people attended the event, representing several research and educational institutions, state and federal agencies, private companies, non-profit organizations, and the general public. There was a full agenda including research updates, committee report outs, and an in-depth discussion of state-level conservation needs that the MBWG can move forward.

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9th Annual Mist Net Event

The MBWG held their 9th Annual Mist Net Event from July 24-26, 2012 at the Chickasawhay Ranger District of the DeSoto National Forest in Jones County.  The event featured a guided tour of the Triple H and Pitts caves, led by Dr. David Beckett of the University of Southern Mississippi.  In addition to southeastern myotis, the group observed two-lined, three-line, and slimy salamanders, pickerel frogs, and several crayfish.  Following protocol, no equipment was taken into either cave that had been used in any white-nose positive state.

The group caught a total of 15 bats, a flying squirrel and a bronze frog! Species captured included Seminole bat (8), eastern red bat (2), an unknown Lasiurus species (escaped), evening bat (3), and eastern pipistrelle (tricolored bat; 1).  The group followed the national protocol for handling bats to avoid spreading white-nose syndrome.