Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Using Rock Climber Observations to Find Bat Roosts

On a hot summer day above the South St. Vrain River, zoologists Rob Schorr and Andrew Reed stare up at a 50 foot slab of rock that has been carved by glaciers and rivers and time.They arrived at this particular location by the goodwill of Colorado’s rock climbing community.As part of a project that Schorr, botanist Bernadette Kuhn, and human dimensions specialist Shawn Davis developed several years ago called Climbers for Bat Conservation, Schorr and Reed are visiting this specific location because climbers have reported hearing or seeing bats in the cracks above. Reed, a rock climber,led the effort to look in the cracks and flakes for bats, guano, or insect parts, while Schorr watched enviously from below. After three hours of searching manually and with an ultrasonic acoustic detector they were unable to find any bats along the climb, and they were unable to find any guano on the rock walls or below the cracks. Schorr found a few insect parts below the climb, but it was unclear if they were the remnants of feeding bats. Although they did not stumble upon a large roost of bats, they were glad to follow leads provided by the Climbers for Bat Conservation partners. The CBC group is hoping to receive more observations of bats by rock climbers following a recent presentation to the International Rock Climbing Research Association given by Kuhn in Telluride, Colorado.

Andrew Reed looking in cracks for bats along the climbing route Panic in the Grey Room.

Andrew Reed pointing out the cracks, flakes, and crevices where bats could roost.

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