The Secret Life of Bats in the Okanogan Highlands and Beyond

Little Brown Bat

On Friday, March 2nd, Roger Christophersen, wildlife biologist for the North Cascades National Park Service, shared stories and information about the amazing adaptations and natural history of our local bat species. From the thick crevices in tree bark and abundant insect supply at Lost Lake, to the forest and wetland habitats of Beaver Canyon, the Okanogan Highlands is a great place for bats to thrive. The presentation covered bat ecology, echolocation calls, habitat requirements, and bat species identification.

Listen:

  1. Introduction
  2. Bat Myths – Roger unravels some of the misconceptions about these furry critters and explored their importance and benefits to both society and local ecosystems
  3. How many mosquitoes can bats eat?

The presentation also touched on study techniques, with a brief look at the results of bat research Roger has been involved with, as well as current research topics and public health information. He shared ideas on how individuals can assist with bat conservation, such as by building and mounting bat boxes, and learning more about the benefits of bats in order to share the information with others. The audience enjoyed the fascinating information and interesting photos.

“Any idea how long a little brown bat can live?” Roger asked the audience. After taking guesses, he replied, “They’ve been known to live over 30 years–that’s pretty long lived.”

Roger Christophersen has generously shared his PowerPoint show. It has been divided into three parts and converted to PDF format, to make the file size more manageable to download: Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

  • You can read Roger’s presentation notes by selecting the notes/comments layer in the PDF.
  • When you see a map of North America, you can click on it to animate the seasonal distribution of bats.

Want to learn more? Two experts generated a list of bat species that may be present in the Okanogan Highlands. Thank you, Mike Sarell and Pat Ormsbee, for your time and effort in creating this list!

Listen to Summer Bats, a song presented during this event; words by Hugh Eckert, music by Julie Vanderwal (1.6 MB; poem used with permission)

About Roger Christophersen

Roger enjoys spending time at his cabin in Chesaw, observing the biodiversity of the highlands. He has over 18 years of experience inventorying and monitoring a diversity of wildlife species in the North Cascades mountain range. His primary emphasis has been on Endangered, Threatened, Rare, Sensitive, and keystone mammal and bird species. He has developed a long-standing passion for the conservation and management of bats, as well as alpine species such as pikas and hoary marmots. He currently serves on several Wildlife Working Group committees and Citizen Science Advisory Councils. His skill as an accomplished mountain climber and instructor dovetails the rigors of field research in rugged mountainous terrain.

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