Mississippi Bat Working Group

Promoting bat research, conservation, and education

Bat Workshop with MSU Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

Thanks to all who participated in our bat workshop at Sam D. Hamilton Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge on September 9, 2023. Thirty-eight students from Mississippi State University’s Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society participated in a workshop hosted by the Mississippi Bat Working Group. Mississippi Museum of Natural Science Mammalogist Katelin Cross presented a lecture and led a game to introduce the group to bat ecology. That night the students divided into groups of 12 and mist netted three sites with biologists from the MS Museum of Natural Science, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and USGS. Each group was successful in netting a few bats with a total of 12 bats captured representing four species, plus a flying squirrel. Species captured included tricolored bat (1), evening bat (6), big brown bat (2), Eastern red bat (3).

Thanks to All of Our 2023 Mist Net Event Participants!.

We had a fun few days mist netting around Bienville National Forest in Central Mississippi. Twenty participants covered 3 sites on 7/26 and four on 7/27, which yielded 73 bats representing 4 species. This is the second highest total captures we’ve had for one of these events and the highest average capture per site (average of 10.4 bats per site, range 4-19). To participate in other upcoming events check out our Upcoming Events page here.


2023 Annual Meeting

Thanks to all of our presenters and participants in the 2023 Annual Meeting of the Mississippi Bat Working Group. Twenty-eight attendees represented a variety of state and federal government agencies, non-profit organizations, private wildlife consultants, and master naturalists from across the state.


MBWG on MPB’s Mississippi Roads!

Mississippi Roads with Walt Grayson recently aired an episode titled “Bugs!” on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Although the episode focuses on insects, they also feature a segment on bats and the Mississippi Bat Working Group. Click here to see the full episode or skip ahead to 10:23 for just the bat segment. Thanks to Chester Martin, Becky Rosamond, and Alison McCartney for working with MPB to get this exposure for the group and Mississippi’s bats.

April 6, 2023 – Save the Date for Our Annual Meeting!

The Mississippi Bat Working Group will hold our annual meeting on April 6 at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson, MS. The meeting is a free event and will feature updates on bat monitoring and research across the state as well as time to network with wonderful people passionate about bat conservation and education. Please check back later for a full agenda.

19th Annual Mist Net Event

Thanks to all who participated and made the MS Bat Working Group’s 19th Annual Mist Net Event a success! We had fourteen bat enthusiasts show up to help net on Holly Springs National Forest on July 27 and 28. The groups netted three sites each night and captured 26 bats representing five species. We had a great time catching up and discussing current bat work and issues throughout the state.

Eastern red batLasiurus borealis17
Evening batNycticeius humeralis4
Tricolored batPerimyotis subflavus3
Southeastern myotisMyotis austroriparius1
Rafinesque’s big-eared batCorynorhinus rafinesquii1

Register Now: 2022 Mist Net Event

Our Annual Mist Net Event will be held on Holly Springs National Forest the nights of July 26-27. Food and lodging will be on your own so if you plan to attend you can go ahead and make arrangements. Local lodging options include Wall Doxey State Park, which offers camping and cabins, or there are hotels in the town of Holly Springs. A current rabies vaccination is required to handle bats, but anyone can participate and help set up and check nets. Registration will be $20 and includes an event t-shirt. Click here to register.

Save the Date – March 24 Membership Meeting

The Mississippi Bat Working Group will meet on March 24, 2022 at the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science. We’re celebrating our 20th Anniversary with a great lineup of speakers providing research and monitoring updates, planning for our annual mist net event, and recognizing members with awards. Please contact us at msbats@hotmail.com if you would like to be a speaker.

We’ll also be looking back at what the group has accomplished over the past 20 years. We hope to see you there!

The MBWG’s first mist net event in 2004

1st Annual Bridge Blitz

Rafinesque’s big eared bats roosting under a bridge in Mississippi.

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 alison_mccartney@fws.gov.


Register Now for 18th Annual Mist Net Event

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.

Visitor Center and Motel aerial
Photo: MDWFP

Join MBWG for a Virtual Mist Net Event

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.

Mississippi Bat Conservation Strategy

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 msbats@hotmail.com.

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.

2020 Annual Meeting of the MBWG

2020 Annual MBWG Meeting

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.


Annual Meeting February 6 at MMNS

Annual Meeting

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.

Kathy Shelton Memorial Fundraiser

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.

  1. 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.
  2. You may make a donation via our Facebook page. 3
  3. You may make a donation on this page via Paypal.

To make a Paypal donation:

  1. Click on the yellow Donate button.
  2. 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.)
  3. Along the top of the screen, click on “Send & Request”.
  4. Enter msbats@hotmail.com in the text box and click the blue next button.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.)
  7. 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.

16th Annual MBWG Mist Net Event

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.

Rafinesque’s big-eared bats near Noxubee NWR

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.


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

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.


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: