Citizen Science


Citizen Science & Bat Biology in Illinois

A typical bat house. Image by Yaquina (CC 2.0).

How can you get involved in conserving and monitoring Illinois’ bat populations?  The information presented here allows you to become involved in Illinois bat research through three approaches: bat roost reporting, bat roost emergence counts, & building a bat house.

Additionally, some information is provided about bat acoustics, which is used primarily by our agency collaborators.


Bat Roost Reporting

Do you know of a bat roost in Illinois? We’d love to hear about it and add information on the roost to our growing database of information about Illinois bats.  These data will help biologists at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources develop management strategies to ensure Illinois bats are a part of our future.


Roost Emergence Counts

A “rocket box” style bat house. Photo by Rusty Clark, 3 Dec 2011 (CC 2.0).

If you’ve filled out a bat roost form above, and you’ve been in contact with our staff, it may be time to conduct a roost emergence count.  Please work with us in advance before conducting a roost count – we don’t want to have multiple groups counting the same roost, for example, as that would just disturb the bats.

Sunset time link: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneDay.php

Weather link: http://www.wunderground.com

Here’s about 1.5 minutes of a roost emergence count:


You can hear some nighttime noises in the video above if you turn up the sound, also you can hear a person whispering – they are keeping track of bat count and whispering so the bats are not disturbed. You’ll see bats emerging from the roost tree, but also moths (food!) flying about.  You can also view the video full screen by clicking on the icon on the lower right of the video.


Building a Bat House

Building a bat house and installing it on your property is a great way to help Illinois bats.  Rather than reinvent the wheel, here are several links to bat box designs.


Acoustic Surveys

The Illinois Bat Conservation Program is collaborating with select agency personnel around Illinois to complete acoustic surveys of bats at certain sites, generally following a nationwide NABat protocol (see their protocol here [22 Mb PDF file]).  Unfortunately, the high expense of survey equipment, and the technical and labor-intensive effort needed to analyze resulting call files means we cannot work with the general public in completing acoustic surveys at just any site for which there is interest.  But, you are free to look at the forms below to see what we’re doing.  Specific equipment listed does not constitute an endorsement of a particular brand – it is just what we happen to be using.

Sunset time link: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneDay.php

Weather link: http://www.wunderground.com



Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

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