As the day came to a close on July 12, over twenty bat lovers gathered at the Johnson Environmental Center of the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association. The old building has harbored a colony of bats for many years – in the attic, under the shutters and under the roof. Before dark participants watched the chimney swifts flying overhead, feeding on the wing on unseen insects. As darkness approached the swifts retreated to their chimney shelters and slowly the bats began to emerge.
Using a bat detector to "translate" the ultrasonic feeding calls of the bats, naturalist Jeff Hoagland was able to illuminate the hunting patterns of the bats as they emerged from their daylong sleep. With voracious appetites, these bats feed on 500 to 1000 insects per hour! Over 50 bats (!) emerged from their roost at the watershed, dooming up to 50,000 mosquitoes to their place in the food chain. A great time was had by all.
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