Spotted bats (Euderma maculatum) are an elusive and widely-distributed species throughout the semi-arid deserts of North America. Sometimes called the “Oreo cookie bat,” they sport large, pink ears and spotted fur. Spotted bats roost high among sheer cliffs, but their clicking calls can be heard while they hunt for owlet moths in the canyons of Central Oregon.
The first spotted bat was “officially” documented in Oregon in 1979 when researchers in the Alvord Desert accidentally captured one in a mist net left open overnight. Only four more spotted bat records were reported in the state over the next 24 years, and the idea that spotted bats were extremely rare, or possibly even extirpated, took hold. In 2005, however, listening surveys combined with mist-netting surveys of Central Oregon revealed that spotted bats may be more abundant in the region than previously recognized.
Biologists still have limited understanding of spotted bat distribution and seasonal patterns in Oregon. What we do know is that their calls are most commonly heard near the canyons and cliffs of eastern Oregon’s High Desert.
In order to better understand spotted bats, the Northwest Bat Hub has developed two ways for you to become a community scientist for bats.
1. Attend a survey training event with our volunteer coordinator. You’ll practice identifying spotted bat calls in a beautiful natural setting.
**For the 2020 season, all training events are being held online, see DO IT ON YOUR OWN for more details.**
2. After attending a training, you will be a certified volunteer of the Central Oregon Spotted Bat Project.
3. Sign up to visit sites on the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, Crooked River National Grasslands, and other locations throughout Central Oregon to help us listen for spotted bats!
1. Watch our training video here
2. Take a short quiz so that you know you are ready to be a safe and effective volunteer!
3. Sign up for as many surveys as you want using our interactive map. Survey sites span the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, Crooked River National Grasslands, and other locations throughout Central Oregon.
4. Submit your data using the CitSci app on your phone or tablet.
Please note that there is no previous biology or backcountry knowledge required to become a community scientist. There are options for all physical abilities and outdoor experience.
For any questions, please contact Sara Rose, spotted bat volunteer coordinator. We appreciate your interest in the Spotted Bat Project.