Backcountry with bats
In 2020, Fundy National Park began to get more reports of bat sightings from park staff and park visitors than we had received in years. Intrigued by all the activity, ultrasonic acoustic bat monitors were installed around the Headquarters area of the park to listen in. This monitoring captured the sounds of a variety of New Brunswick bats throughout the later summer and fall of 2020.
Now, the park’s Research and Conservation team is reaching out to you for help collecting more data on our bat population.
The primary goal of the current bat monitoring surveys is to answer the following questions: Which species of bats over-summer in Fundy National Park? Where is critical habitat for bats in Fundy National Park? By collecting data in the backcountry sites, important bat habitat in Fundy National Park may be identified.
Anyone booked for backcountry camping in Fundy National Park from May to October is invited to sign up for our Backcountry with Bats program. We will loan you a bat monitoring kit once you check in for your camping stay. This kit includes:
- Echo Meter Touch 2 bat monitor in a small bag
- A data collection sheet
- A pencil or a pen
- Basic user instruction
- A note book
How to sign up
To sign up for the Backcountry with Bats program, contact the Fundy National Park Visitor Center by phone at 506-887-6000 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to have read over the above considerations before booking.
Have the following information ready or included in your email:
- Dates you have booked for your backcountry camping trip in Fundy National Park
- The type of device you are going to be using with the Echo Meter Touch 2 bat monitor – is it an Android or iOS (Apple) device?
- At least one name and contact information from the camping party, including an email to receive more in-depth instructions about how to set up the Wildlife Acoustics : Echo Meter Touch Bat Detector, Recorder & Analyzer on your device.
Considerations before signing up
- Participants need book their backcountry camping stay prior to signing up for the program.
- Participants need to have a smartphone or a tablet. As mentioned above, the Echo Meter Touch 2 bat monitor included in the kit is the technology that will be listening and recording any bats making sounds in the immediate area. This device plugs into your smartphone or tablet’s charging port. To plug in properly, you may need to remove your device’s protective case. The smartphone or tablet needs to have the accompanying app (Wildlife Accoustics : Echo Meter Touch Bat Detector, Recorder & Analyzer) to allow the Echo Meter Touch 2 to function. It can be downloaded in the Google Play store or the Apple App Store.
- Even without the Echo Meter Touch 2 device, the App can still be opened. On the app, there in a User Guide that explains the ins and outs of bat recording and using the app. It can be found in the main menu, under [INFORMATION]. The Wildlife Acoustics website also has a comprehensive set of videos that explain how to use the app and make recordings.
- There are a lot of settings that can be changed and played around with, but don’t worry. A basic understanding of how to record is all participants need. The focused instructions for this will be included in the kit.
- The Echo Meter Touch 2 recording device does not have its own power source and there for uses your smartphone or tablet’s charge to function. This means that after only a few uses, your devices’ battery life may be significantly depleted. Please take this into consideration during your trip planning if you plan to use your smartphone or tablet as a means of communication, navigation, or for any medical purposes. We recommend a second device, brought fully charged, or bringing a wireless, portable charger.
- Participants need to check in and check out at the Headquarters Visitor Center in order to pick up and return the kit.
- Upon check out of the campsite, the participants must transfer all of the recordings made to Park staff so that it may be analyzed.
- If you are going to be using an iOS/Apple device, you will also need to download the free SanDisk iXpand Drive app for transferring the recordings to our team once you return from your camping trip. It can be downloaded from the Apple App Store.
- If you are going to use an Android device, there is no other app to download. However, to make this transfer smoother, familiarize yourself with accessing your devices internal storage and moving files around.
- The research and conservation team are able to identify the bats by the shapes and formations of the sounds visible on a sonogram reading. This means that they will not be listening to the audio, but looking at it. Any snippets of conversation that may be recorded will not be listened to. If you have any concerns about your privacy, please communicate with us.
Why only backcountry camping?
The goal of this program is to gather information about the bat populations in the Fundy backcountry with the help of backcountry campers. We have much easier access to the front country campgrounds and buildings. Now we want to know more about the bat populations out in the forest.
For a bit of background on why we are doing this, this article written by Meg Blaxley, a resource management officer at the park, describes the exciting bat related finds of the 2020 season.