Bats on the Rocks

My second article for USFWS on White Nose Syndrome, Bats on the rocks: New habitat may provide refuge from White-Nose Syndrome has been posted on the USFWS NE Region blog. I have been enjoying these conversations with scientists about the work they do.  More articles are on the way!

White Nose Syndrome Series Starts!

I have been doing some freelance writing for USFWS’ Northeast Region on White Nose Syndrome, a disease that has wiped out many bat populations in the northeast and is spreading west.  It will all culminate in Bat Week at the end of October.  I am a nighthawk researcher, but bats and nighthawks are both aerial insectivores that share many of the same pressures.

My first article, Unlocking the mystery of White-nose Syndrome at the leading edge, was posted this week on the White-Nose Syndrome web site!

Infrared Technology and Nests

Taken with iPhone8,4,iOS 10.3.2

Common Nighthawk rooftop nesting site.  The red is is the rubberized roofing material used as a substrate under the gravel. Here the gravel is in greens and blues surround the rubberized material. The eggs are the green ovals of the edge of the red patch in the upper right corner.

Last week, I used an infrared photo of a rooftop nighthawk nest to illustrate the importance of climate change research.

I tried to use this technology to find eggs and chicks, but as you can see above, there is no unique heat signature for eggs that I can use.  Nighthawks are extremely heat tolerant, and so their body temperature (and the eggs they incubate) match their surroundings pretty closely.  However, it’s been a great tool for visualizing this very phenomenon.

Other researchers like those in this great video on Marbled Murrelets, featuring my undergraduate research advisor Dr. Jim Rivers, use infrared to great effect in their nest searches.