Pinery has been a bat research hotspot for more than a decade. Researchers from Western University have been studying bat migration, diet, and behaviour, and much of what we know about Ontario bats has come from work done in Pinery. The park is home to four species: the Little Brown Myotis, Big Brown Bat, Eastern Red Bat, and Hoary Bat. There is also at least one record of a Tri-coloured Bat in the park.
In the winter of 2006-2007, White Nose Syndrome was found in New York State. White Nose Syndrome is a fungal disease that affects hibernating bats. Nearly all bats with the disease are killed, and millions of bats have died. By 2009, the fungus had been found on bats in Ontario, and in 2015, White Nose Syndrome was identified across the continent in Washington State. This deadly disease is able to travel incredibly quickly, and millions of bats will continue to die as it spreads. There is hope that some bat populations will be resistant to White Nose Syndrome, but it may take hundreds or thousands of years for the population to recover. Link to a photo of a WNS-affected bat
Of all North America’s bats, the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus) has been affected most by White Nose Syndrome. The Little Brown Myotis was Ontario’s most common bat species, and it is a very important part of ecosystems around the province. Ontario now considers it to be an Endangered Species [https://www.ontario.ca/page/little-brown-myotis], and its habitat is now protected.
Little Brown Myotis and White-Nose Syndrome Stewardship Project
The Friends of Pinery Park is supporting a stewardship project focusing on the Little Brown Myotis and White-nose Syndrome with funding from the Species at Risk Stewardship Foundation (SARSF).This project will help spread awareness about White-nose Syndrome and will improve our understanding of how it is affecting bat populations in Pinery Provincial Park.
Additional funding provided by Toronto Dominion Friends of the Environment Foundation (TDFEF)
Download Bat information card
What We Are Doing
We are letting everyone know how great bats are by leading programs and developing posters and information cards. We are also helping visitors find bats by putting bat detectors into their hands! Using a no-fee rental agreement, you can borrow a bat detector for several nights to listen for bats on your own. Then, come back to the Visitor Centre to tell us what you heard and where it was.
Building Bat Boxes
We are supplementing bat roosting sites in the park using Four-Chamber and Rocketbox-style bat boxes.
Monitoring: we have placed several recorders throughout Pinery that record the high-pitched echolocation calls bats make when they are flying at night. We can use these recorders to understand what species are in the park, and estimate how many there are.
How You Can Help
Support the Friends of Pinery Park’s bat stewardship project by making a charitable donation
Participate in our Citizen Science Project
TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS CITIZEN SCIENCE PROJECT
VISIT THE VISITORS CENTRE
We need your help. Bat monitors are devices that pick up the high frequency sounds that bats use to “see” at night and make them audible to the human ear. Pinery has purchased 5 monitors to be used by campers, to help us document where these bats are found in the park. Once you sign a monitor out, you can explore the park and listen for bats. Once you hear a bat you can record what frequency it was on and where you were in the park. When you return to the visitors centre, tell us what you heard and or saw. Then place a sticker on the bat sighting map in the visitor centre marking the spot where you found the bat.
You can also report your bat sightings with the Explore Pinery App on your mobile phone.
Build and Erect Bat Boxes
Historically, Little Brown Myotis bats would roost in hollow trees during the summer months. Unfortunately, most hollow trees are cut down by people who think they are ugly or dangerous. Buy or build a bat box to give them a place to stay during the day and to raise their young during the summer months. Bat Conservation International has plans available here.
Plant Native Species
Bats eat flying insects, and many flying insects can only live on native tree and shrub species. The more native species there are in your area, the more bats, birds, reptiles, and other wildlife you will see.
Learn About Bats
They are fascinating animals and they deserve our appreciation and respect. Come to one of Pinery’s naturalist-led programs (like a bat program or night hike), or borrow one of our bat detectors to look for bats yourself. Invite one of our naturalists to come to your school to talk about bats, or book a class trip to the park. There are also lots of online resources you can check out:
White Nose Syndrome Information: https://www.whitenosesyndrome.org/
Bat Conservation International: http://www.batcon.org/
Western University Bat Research: http://www.uwo.ca/biology/faculty/fenton/