About 60 people showed up to learn about bats from our local bat, who brought two different echolocation devices to help us identify bats from their calls. We heard five species foraging by the river while we talked—the hoary bat, Mexican free-tail bat, silver-haired bat, red bat, and long-legged bat.
We also met JoEllen’s Bat Ambassadors, three local species of bats—a pallid bat, big brown bat, and Mexican free-tailed bat. Each of these wild bats suffered an injury or birth defect, making them unreleasable—they cannot fly and would die in the wild. JoEllen volunteers with NorCalBats, which provides rescue services and education about bats, including the Bat Ambassadors that are permitted by the state to be used for educational programs. You can learn more about this at www.norcalbats.org. For fascinating information about bats worldwide, check out Bat Conservation International at www.batcon.org.
At dusk we glanced across the river and saw about a dozen Mexican free-tailed bats foraging for dinner. These bats eat mostly insects, and in California, Arizona, and Texas they really put a dent in populations of several major cotton and corn pests.