Long-tailed bats have been spotted in Henderson for the first time in about 15 years.
Auckland Council biodiversity advisor Chris Bindon located the bats using a special bat detector during the recent BioBlitz event. This is a 24-hour period of intense biological surveying in an attempt to count all the living species within a specific area, funded by the Waitākere Ranges Local Board.
Senior biodiversity advisor Ben Paris, who you may know as NZ Batman, says this is exciting news for the local community.
“West Aucklanders could have long-tailed bats flying by their backyard, local park or school and they just didn’t know it!”
Long-tailed bats are about as big as your thumb and weigh the same amount as a couple of $2 coins. They have activity hot spots in the Waitākere and Hunua Ranges, as well as pockets of activity in Rodney and Franklin.
Mr Paris says the work the Project Twin Streams crew have been doing to restore the streams in Waitākere and Henderson-Massey has really helped the long-tailed bat population because healthy stream habitat produces lots of insects for them to eat.
“The more of this sort of stream restoration and pest control (especially rats) that can be done by the community, the more likely we will see bats return to our urban areas.”
You can find out more about long-tailed bats on the Auckland Council website.
Listen to the bats
You can listen to a sound recording of long-tailed bats on NZ Batman’s SoundCloud.
Become a bat-spotter
You can borrow a bat detector free of charge from Auckland Council to go bat-spotting in your backyard or at your local stream or park.
The special bat detectors have microphones that pick up the echolocation (sound navigation) calls that humans can’t hear, and convert them into audible clicks and buzzes.
Mr Paris says although the bats will soon be going into a kind of hibernation (torpor) when it gets colder, they will be active again around October. Summer is the best time to go out bat-spotting.
To find out more about borrowing bat detectors view the Auckland Council bat detector brochure.