Come learn more about some unique night flyers

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June 23rd, 2008

Come learn more about some unique night flyers

Did you know that bats are the slowest reproducing mammals on earth for their size?

Did you know that every night they provide free insect-control services to the Valley?

The Arizona Game and Fish Department invites you to attend a free bat workshop on Friday, June 20 to learn the answers to these questions and find out more about these shy, misunderstood creatures.

The workshop will provide an opportunity for the public to watch an amazing sight as thousands of Mexican free-tail bats exit their roost for the evening at Phoenix’s largest bat colony, near the Biltmore area. The program will begin at 7 p.m. with a talk by bat biologists and an opportunity to see live bats up close. Participants will then watch the mass exodus using special night vision and ultrasonic sound equipment to hear the bat’s inaudible echolocation sounds.

“Bats are plagued by so many inaccurate myths,” says Nancy Renison, Arizona Game and Fish Department bat biologist. “But, they do so many good things like helping protect agricultural crops and our backyards from being overrun by pesky insects.”

Arizona is home to 28 bat species, including two species that are nectar-feeders and pollinate plants like the saguaro and agaves. Mexican free-tailed bats are found throughout Arizona in the summer, and most migrate south in the winter. It has a wingspan of 11 to 13 inches, and it roosts in caves, tunnels, and crevices in tunnels, bridges and buildings.

Bats are most frequently observed between April and October, but many species are active year-round in the state. They are the only mammal that can truly fly and, contrary to popular myth, bats are not blind.

Don’t miss this opportunity to meet some of the Valley’s more secretive residents. The event is free to the public. Educators are also encouraged to attend and receive continuing education credit.

Those attending the workshop should park in the retail parking lot on the southwest corner of 40th Street and Camelback Road, walk north along 40th Street, and then proceed west on the north side of the canal until they reach the Maricopa County Flood Control District tunnel. The tunnel is approximately ½ mile from 40th Street. It will be marked with signage. The public is encouraged to arrive with ample time: The bats leave at sunset and won’t wait!

Additional workshops will be held throughout the summer. To get future workshop dates, visit www.azgfd.gov/calendar or for general information about bats in Arizona, visit www.azgfd.gov.

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