|The better to hear you with, my dear. A Townsend’s big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii). Photo by Jeremy Siemers.|
Of the nearly 20 species of bats in Colorado, the Townsend’s big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii) is the species of greatest conservation concern with 2 of the 5 subspecies listed under the Endangered Species Act. This bat uses roosting resources, such as caves and mines, which are declining in availability and are prone to disturbance by humans. For this reason, Mark Hayes, a PhD candidate at University of Northern Colorado and former student of CNHP Zoologist Rob Schorr, began a study to model Townsend’s big-eared bat hibernacula use in Colorado.
Using 9 years of mine survey data compiled by Colorado Division of Wildlife’s (CDOW) Bats/Inactive Mines Project, Hayes, Schorr, and Kirk Navo of CDOW compared characteristics of Townsend’s big-eared bat occupied and unoccupied mines. They found that Townsend’s big-eared bat hibernated in mines with multiple portals and portal temperatures near 0°C. Understanding characteristics for Townsend’s big-eared bat occupied mines allows land managers to prioritize conservation of similar mines. For more details see Hayes, M.A., Schorr, R.A., and K.W. Navo. 2011. Hibernacula selection by Townsend’s big-eared bat in southwestern Colorado. Journal of Wildlife Management 75(3):137-143.