Bats A Very Fascinating Topic at MVFN Meeting

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
Submitted by: Ian Baker
March 20, 2004

Bats A Very Fascinating Topic at MVFN Meeting  

Bat ImageOn Thursday March 18, Perth resident and long-time bat enthusiast, Jim Ronson presented an interesting talk on Bats at the popular monthly meeting of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists.

The speaker was introduced by MVFN member Ian Baker.

Ronson, who is the President of the Rideau Valley Field Naturalists, started the evening by sorting out myths and facts about bat-lore. His vivid description of the bats’ ability to use Echolocation to “see” their surroundings in the dark stimulated a lively discussion. The speaker indicated bats use this sonar-like talent to detect size, shape and texture of their prey. Jim also shared highlights of the Bat Conservation International video “Secret World of Bats”. The audience was entertained and enlightened about the many bat species from Flying Foxes in Australia, Fruit Bats in Mexico to Vampire Bats of South and Central Americas. Ronson talked about the need for public education, stating that bats are at risk primarily because people don’t understand how valuable they are.

Bats native to the Almonte area include the Little Brown bat, the Large Brown bat, the Red bat and the Eastern Pipistrell. While these little creatures are often difficult to differentiate due to their nocturnal habits and without close examination in the hand, Mr. Ronson pointed out some characteristics of flight pattern that can be helpful as well as tips on when and where to observe. Bats native to Ontario are largely insect eaters and will consume 1/2 their weight a day. They live 10 to 15 years, some to 30 years.

Jim Ronson concluded his presentation with a donation of a home-made Bat House. He described the simple and practical design and where best to locate. After the audience participated with many questions and personal experiences, the speaker was presented with a gift basket of local honey products, to the sounds of a hearty round of applause.

In other business, MVFN Director Cliff Bennett announced the upcoming Environmental Education Projects Programme fund-raiser in May. Look for Jim Ronson’s Bat-house at the Silent auction.

The next MVFN evening programme will be held Thursday, April 15 at the Almonte United Church on Elgin Street. The topic will be the Peregrine Falcon Release Program with guest speaker Gary Neilson of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

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