Georgia is participating in two volunteer-based, nationwide acoustic survey efforts to collect long-term data about bats.
The state is home to 16 species of bats. All of them eat insects exclusively and use echolocation to navigate, communicate and find food. Echolocation calls can be recorded and used to identify bats.
Volunteers are needed for both the ongoing GA DNR Mobile Acoustic Route Project (routes run once in June and once in July) and the new Georgia NA Bat Project (routes run twice in one week in June or July). Please review the information below to determine if any routes are available in your area.
GA DNR Mobile Acoustic Route Volunteer Project
(Routes must be completed once in June & once in July)
GA DNR volunteers have been collecting bat call data through our GA DNR Mobile Acoustic Project since 2014. The national acoustic survey protocol provided guidelines for states to follow when starting monitoring programs. Here is a basic outline of the methods for Georgia:
- Sampling should occur twice each year, once in June and once in July.
- Sampling should only occur on nights suitable for bat activity (low wind, no rain or fog, appropriate temperatures—above 60 degrees).
- Sampling should begin 30 minutes after sunset.
- Transects should be run at 20 mph.
Routes in green are available for surveys. Click on a route to see the route name and road conditions. Some routes may require a 4WD vehicle. If applicable, that information is noted on each route on the map above.
Results From Past GA DNR Mobile Anabat Surveys
GA NABat Mobile Acoustic Route Volunteer Project
(Routes must be completed twice over a 5-day period in either June or July)
The North American Bat Monitoring Program (NABat) is a multi-agency national long-term monitoring program to assess status and trends of North American bats. The NABat project has randomly assigned 10 x 10 km grid cells across North America for sampling. Each grid cell has been assigned a GRTS ID. There are two survey methods: stationary point surveys and mobile transects. GADNR has already selected GRTS cells to sample in Georgia. Some cells include only mobile transects as a part of their surveys and some include both stationary point surveys and mobile transects.
NABat protocol requires two mobile routes be run within the same four nights that the stationary detectors are deployed. If you are only conducting a mobile route, then please conduct the driving transect 2 nights within a 5-day period. Mobile surveys should only occur on nights of clear weather and surveys are to begin 45 minutes after sunset.
If you have a route with both types of sampling, you may have to coordinate with someone to complete your mobile route in coordination with deployment of stationary units. It is important to watch the weather to ensure that you have the best chance of running the mobile route twice in the 5-day period. Most survey routes require the mobile driving component only, and if the route you are to survey also has stationary points associated with it, GADNR will let you know prior to committing you to that route. There is only one sampling period for each route during the summer so once the mobile route it run twice in a 5-day period, you are done for the summer!
Routes in green are available for surveys. Click on a route to see the route name. All NA Bat routes should be on roads that can be driven with any passenger vehicle.
Results From Past NA Bat Mobile Acoustic Surveys
Want to Volunteer?
Who should volunteer? Here are some things to consider before signing up:
- You must have a vehicle you are able to use for one scouting route (during the first year only) and two sampling routes each year.
- Some routes require a 4-wheel-drive vehicle (GA DNR mobile routes only).
- Routes must be completed twice each year, once in June and once in July (preferably approximately one month apart) for GA DNR mobile routes OR two times in a 5-day period in either June or July for NA Bat routes.
- Routes cannot be run during rainy, foggy or windy conditions. You must be able to have flexibility in your schedule.
- There are a limited number of Anabat units available for use across the state. Volunteers must be willing to coordinate picking up and dropping off Anabat units with other volunteers. This also may require some additional driving.
- This is a long-term monitoring project. Volunteers should be available to run the same routes for at least the next several years (if possible).
How do you volunteer? Choose an available route you're interested in from one of the maps above. Then contact DNR Wildlife Technician Emily Ferrall for information about getting started.