The Mississippi Bat Working Group’s First Annual Bridge Blitz was held from July 12-18, 2021. Seventeen members participated, covering nine survey routes throughout the state. Four of the 71 bridges surveyed were occupied (5.6% occupancy rate). These bridges were in the Claiborne County area and contained 120 southeastern myotis (Myotis austroriparius), 15 big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus), and one Rafinesque’s big-eared bat (Corynorhinus rafinesquii). The bridge with the largest colony of southeastern myotis was surveyed three weeks later and found to have increased to 220 Myotis. Thank you to everyone that participated in this event! For more information, please contact Alison McCartney at email@example.com.(more…)
Promoting bat research, conservation, and education
Registration is open through August 31 for our 18th Annual Mist Net Event, to be held September 14-16 at J.P. Coleman State Park in Tishomingo County, MS. Click here to register. A $10 registration fee can be paid online or on site and covers the cost of an event T-shirt. Due to COVID, participants are responsible for providing their own food and lodging arrangements. For information and to reserve lodging, visit the J.P. Coleman State Park website or Reserve America.
Check out the first video in our series to celebrate Bat Week 2020 and promote bat conservation through social distancing. Come back each day through October 31 for new content on our Virtual Mist Net Event page.
Due to the risks posed by COVID-19 to our native bat species, the MBWG will be holding a virtual mist net event in October in place of the group’s traditional annual event. Join us October 24-31 on msbats.org or find us on Facebook to see original content highlighting Mississippi’s bats and the tools used to study and conserve them.
In collaboration with our partners, the MBWG has finalized a bat conservation strategy for Mississippi. The strategy was authored by a variety of biologists representing State and federal agencies and comments are welcome from others as this is a living document that can be updated as new information becomes available. Comments may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Strategy provides a review of our current knowledge of bats in Mississippi and identifies goals and priority objectives for research, inventory and monitoring, management, and education and outreach. Detailed species profiles for each species found in the state serve as an overview of our current knowledge of life history, range, and conservation status.
Bat records are reported at the county level in this document. If you have a record to contribute, you can submit it to Katelin.Cross@mmns.ms.gov at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. Examples of records include mist net captures, roost surveys, and incidental observations.
MBWG members staffed a booth about bats at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science’s Pollinator Day event on March 11, 2020.
The Mississippi Bat Working Group held its annual meeting at the MS Museum of Natural Science in Jackson on February 6, 2020. Thirty-two people attended, representing a diversity of state and federal agencies from Mississippi and Louisiana. Participants included staff from the museum, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Forest Service, MS Band of Choctaw Indians, Bureau of Land Management, MS Department of Transportation, US Army Corps of Engineers, USDA Wildlife Services, University of Southern Mississippi, and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. We also had several bat enthusiasts join us to hear updates from Mississippi and Louisiana’s efforts to monitor bat populations and white-nose syndrome. The BLM and USFS presented on their bat monitoring efforts in Mississippi and neighboring states, and a student from USM shared her research into the history of bat folklore and mythology.(more…)
The annual meeting of the MBWG will be held at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science on February 6, 2020 from 9 am – 4 pm. The agenda this year includes guest speakers from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife, the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the University of Southern Mississippi. We’ll also have updates on MS Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks and MBWG ongoing projects and monitoring efforts as well as our business meeting. Continuing education credits will be available through the Wildlife Society.
For those of us involved in bat conservation in Mississippi, the unexpected loss of Kathy Shelton has been difficult. She was a voice and a champion for Mississippi’s wildlife, especially those less understood or appreciated species including bats. The Mississippi Bat Working Group will continue to work towards a greater appreciation and understanding of Mississippi’s diversity of bats in her memory.
The membership of the MBWG would also like to memorialize Kathy Shelton with a bench at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. The bench is to be placed next to a similar bench which she donated in memory of her husband, Les Shelton. Members of the group are currently designing a wildlife element to be carved into the bench to commemorate her passion for wildlife conservation.
If you would like to contribute to this memorial the MBWG has a few ways you may donate towards the cost of purchasing the bench.
- You may send a check made out to MBWG to P.O. Box 1070, Grenada, MS 38901. Please indicate in the memo that it is for Kathy.
- You may make a donation via our Facebook page. 3
- You may make a donation on this page via Paypal.
To make a Paypal donation:
- Click on the yellow Donate button.
- If you have an account you can enter your login information. If you don’t you have the option to create an account. (You must have an account to donate via Paypal.)
- Along the top of the screen, click on “Send & Request”.
- Enter email@example.com in the text box and click the blue next button.
- Enter the amount you would like to donate and please add a note so we know it is to go towards Kathy’s bench. Click the blue next button.
- You will be prompted to enter your payment information and then you can click “Send Payment Now”. (If you enter a new card, please make sure your note indicating the purpose of the donation didn’t get erased.)
- You will get a confirmation of your donation sent to the email linked to your Paypal account.
Thank you for helping preserve Kathy’s memory.
The MBWG held its 16th Annual Mist Net Event on September 24-26 at Tombigbee National Forest and Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge. Twenty-five participants surveyed eight sights over the course of the two-night event. Twenty-one bats representing six species were processed and released. On Wednesday, participants toured Noxubee NWR and observed Rafinesque’s big-eared bats in an abandoned house and a cavity tree roost.(more…)
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.(more…)
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.(more…)
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.(more…)
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!
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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.
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:
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…)
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.
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!
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.
MBWG members have provided their bat knowledge to Creature Comforts, a radio show produced by Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Our most recent appearances on Creature Comforts have been on March 31, 2016 and October 27, 2016. To check out these podcasts and more, visit MPB Online.
MBWG 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.)
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.
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…)
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
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.
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.