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Get close to bats on Antelope Island

New moon in June perfect time to study bats

ANTELOPE ISLAND STATE PARK — On June 27, a biologist with the Division of Wildlife Resources will trap and identify bats at Antelope Island State Park. And he's inviting you to join him.

You can get close to bats at a June 27 event at Antelope Island State Park.

You can get close to bats at a June 27 event at Antelope Island State Park.

Photo by Scott Root

In addition to getting close to bats, you'll learn about the important role bats play in the natural world.

If you'd like to participate, space is limited, and you must pre-register. To register, call the Wild About Birds Nature Center at 801-779-BIRD (2473).

Also, even though the event is free, you'll have to pay the entrance fee to enter Antelope Island State Park.

Get close to bats

Participants will meet at 7 p.m. on June 27 at the Wild About Birds Nature Center in Layton. The center is at 1986 N. Hill Field Road. You'll leave the center at 7:30 p.m.

Adam Brewerton, regional sensitive species biologist for the DWR, says the netting work will last until about midnight. If lots of bats are still flying after midnight, though, it might last even longer. "You don't have to stay for the entire event," Brewerton says. "You're welcome to leave at any time."

Brewerton says Antelope Island is swarming with newly hatched insects right now. "That makes it a good place to study bats," he says. "Insects are a primary food source for bats."

He also says the new moon of June provides a perfect opportunity to study bats. "Bats are susceptible to being preyed on by great horned owls," he says. "The darkness of a new moon makes them less leery to move around."

On the night of June 27, Brewerton and other biologists will capture bats in mist nets, and then measure and weigh the bats. The capture project also gives biologists a chance to identify the bats and do a health "checkup" by checking wing membranes for signs of disease.

In addition to capturing bats, acoustic recording devices will be on hand to listen to and record sonograms of bat sounds. Biologists use sonograms to identify various bat species.

"We're doing this work to gather information about sensitive species and take conservation measures aimed at keeping them from being listed as an endangered species," he says.

For more information about bat conservation, call Brewerton at 801-510-2034.

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