Pinery has been a bat research hotspot for more than four decades, collaborating with research groups at York University, Western University and the University of Waterloo. Information about bat migration, diet, and behaviour, and much of what we know about Ontario bats has come from work done in Pinery.

The Friends of Pinery Park, with a grant from the Species at Risk Stewardship Program (SARSP), is supporting a project focusing on the endangered Little Brown Myotis. The project aims to improve our knowledge of bat biology and behaviour, as well as bettering our understanding of how White-Nose Syndrome is affecting bat populations in Pinery. There are two major components: Research and Education.

A Little Brown Myotis in flight. Photo (C) Sherri & Brock Fenton
Bat Stewardship Technician, Heather, examines the joints in the wing to determine the approximate age of the bat.

Research
Over the last few years, we have built and erected nearly 40 four-chambered and rocket box style bat boxes throughout the park. With the assistance of a team of bat researchers at the University of Waterloo, led by Dr. Hugh Broders, we have begun to capture, tag, and release bats back into the park with PIT (passive integrated transponder) tags that can be read by readers installed on these erected bat boxes. This system will allow us to track individual bat movement through the park in order to better understand factors involved in roost selection and bat colony movement. In 2018, we received funding to acquire and install the first three PIT tag readers, and an additional two readers will be installed in 2019.

To augment bat habitat further in the park, we have also constructed and erected a large, communal bat condo. This particular design was successfully tested in Wisconsin, and was shown to be capable of housing up to 3000 Little Brown Myotis bats. Our condo was erected in October 2018 and can be found near Pinery’s Outdoor Theatre.

Our Bat Stewardship Technician stands between two regular bat boxes (a 4-chamber box and a rocket box) and the bat condo.

Furthermore, we have placed several bat recorders in the park to record the high pitched echolocation calls that bats use to supplement their vision at night. These recordings are being analyzed to identify species, and enable us to monitor changes in bat populations in the park.

Our bat information booth at Pinery’s 2019 Healthy Parks Healthy People Day.

Education
As part of this project, we have designed numerous new bat resources, including information cards, postcards, posters, and bat box plans. These are all available for free to park guests at the Visitor Centre. Additionally, naturalists and researchers lead several different bat educational programs and talks throughout the summer and at special events in the park and the surrounding community.

As part of this project, we have designed numerous new bat resources, including information cards, postcards, posters, and bat box plans. These are all available for free to park guests at the Visitor Centre. Additionally, naturalists and researchers lead several different bat educational programs and talks throughout the summer and at special events in the park and the surrounding community.




Assistance for this project was provided by the Government of Ontario


Additional funding was provided by the Toronto Dominion Friends of the Environment Foundation (TDFEF)