Free Phoenix Bat workshops provide a glimpse into the lives of Arizona bats – the Valley’s most secretive residents

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May 4th, 2009

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 one of the free bat workshops being held throughout the summer to learn the answers to these questions and find out more about these shy, misunderstood creatures. The first workshop will be held on Thursday, May 7 at 7 p.m.

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The workshops 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 programs begin 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 a lot of inaccurate myths,” says Angela McIntire, Arizona Game and Fish Department bat management coordinator. “But, they do so many good things like helping protect agricultural crops and our backyards from being overrun by pesky insects. And, few Valley residents know that they have a great wildlife viewing opportunity so close to home.”

Additional workshops will be held on:

* Friday, June 12 at 7:15 p.m.
* Friday, July 17 at 7:15 p.m.
* Friday, Aug. 14 at 7 p.m.
* Friday, Sept. 18 at 6:15 p.m.

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 events are free to the public. Educators are also encouraged to attend and receive continuing education credit.

Partners include the Maricopa County Flood Control District and Knight and Associates.

Those attending a workshop should park at the commercial building located at 2400 E. Arizona Biltmore Circle. The building is on the northeast corner of 24th Street and Arizona Biltmore Circle, just south of Lincoln Dr. The workshop will be held on the southwest corner of that intersection at the Maricopa County Flood Control District Tunnel, next to the Squaw Peak Police Precinct. It will be marked with signage. The public is encouraged to arrive on time: The bats leave at sunset and won’t wait!

For more information about bats in Arizona, visit www.azgfd.gov.

One Response to “Free Phoenix Bat workshops provide a glimpse into the lives of Arizona bats – the Valley’s most secretive residents”

  1. Helen Wimmer on June 1st, 2009 at 4:42 am

    I am teaching a Survival summer school class to elementary age students. I would love to see about a wildlife awareness and safety presentation. Is this possible?

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