Wildlife agency looking for bat volunteers in Marana

2013-08-17T00:00:00Z Wildlife agency looking for bat volunteers in MaranaBy Doug Kreutz Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Wanted: citizen-scientist volunteers to help monitor the night moves of bats.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in cooperation with the town of Marana, will rely on volunteers to collect data in the coming months for a Hummingbird Feeder Bat Monitoring Project.

Most of Arizona’s 28 bat species eat insects, but two species — the endangered lesser long-nosed bat and the Mexican long-tongued bat — are nectar feeders and often visit backyard hummingbird feeders, said Jessica Gist, a wildlife specialist with the Game and Fish Department.

“We don’t know a lot about those two species, and the information we receive from volunteers will help us learn more about where they are found and their migration” between Arizona and Mexico, Gist said.

She said volunteers will be asked to make observations and photos of bats that visit their hummingbird feeders at night. They will send information to a website sponsored by Marana — www.marana.com/bats — where biologists will collect the data. The website is also the place to sign up if you’d like to volunteer for the project or get more information about it.

The bats are in Arizona during the summer and tend to visit feeders frequently in late August and September. They remain in Arizona until the fall, Gist said.

The study boundary takes in Tucson Basin sites including all of Marana as well as Oracle, Casa Grande, Safford, Globe and Picacho Peak among other sites in Southeastern Arizona.

Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at dkreutz@azstarnet.com or at 573-4192. On Twitter: @DouglasKreutz

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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