As white-nose syndrome continues to decimate area bat populations, Geauga Park District is offering a special opportunity to watch Little Brown Bats’ “flight into the night” on property it protects behind South Newbury Union Chapel.
Enjoy the Bat Spectacle: Flight into the Night event on Thursday, July 31 from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at South Newbury Union Chapel off of Route 44 in Newbury.
Before your very eyes, bats will emerge from a “bat condo” roosting structure, built over a decade ago as an Eagle Scout project, which is capable of housing hundreds of bats at once.
As dusk proceeds, the bats begin leaving the condo for an evening of food foraging, using echo-location to catch flying insects such as moths, beetles and flies, said senior naturalist Dan Best, who will host the visit.
“Bat flight is more efficient than bird flight due to bats having more bones and joints in their wings, with an elastic wing membrane that stretches with the many points of joint movement,” Best said. “As the exit peaks, bats can be seen by the dozens leaving the structure.”
White-nose syndrome is a cold-tolerant fungus that continues its rampant spread to caves and rock shelters throughout eastern North America, moving west, and killing hibernating bats by the millions since 2006. Marked reductions have already been observed in Geauga County summer bat populations, with the syndrome found in local rock shelters where bats usually hibernate.
“At the present mortality rates, this Union Chapel bat spectacle may very soon become a phenomenon of the past, with each year seeing fewer and fewer bats,” Best said. “Don’t miss this opportunity.”
Registration is required by phone at 440-279-0880, as parking is very limited; registration is therefore by number of vehicles, not people, so carpooling with family and friends is encouraged.
Geauga Park District is online at geaugaparkdistrict.org, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.