Were your hummingbird feeders mysteriously drained during the night last summer? Did you know the midnight raiders were bats? Most of Arizona’s 28 bat species eat insects, but two drink nectar and eat pollen and fruits from saguaro, agave and hummingbird feeders.
Over the past several years, citizen scientists have graciously volunteered numerous hours each summer to monitor their hummingbird feeders for bats. They have provided valuable information that provides better understanding of the behavior of the federally endangered lesser long-nosed bats and the Arizona species of concern Mexican long-tongued bats. The lesser long-nosed bats migrate from Mexico and arrive in southern Arizona as saguaros begin to bloom. They continue traveling throughout Southern Arizona following the blooms of plants.
If you enjoy watching wildlife and sitting on your porch during summer evenings please consider volunteering for this worthy cause. Your efforts will allow wildlife and resource managers in Arizona to better understand the ecology of these species. The project goals are to understand when the species arrive in Southern Arizona, determine foraging habits and movement patterns, and to document when the migratory species depart Arizona. With your help, the program should continue receiving valuable information and use it to understand the bats’ behavior as well as how to better protect them.
If you are interested in participating in the hummingbird feeder monitoring project this year, please visit the official website sponsored by the Town of Marana. The site allows participants to sign up as volunteers and download information about monitoring protocol.
Photo by Pat Hartshorne