Bat Inventories at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

Pallid bat looking at the camera
Pallid bat.

NPS Photo

Earlier in our inventory efforts, the Upper Columbia Basin Network focused on bats in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. Bats are hard to study because they are only out at night, hide during the day, and tend to be found in places where humans have a hard time getting to, like sheer cliffs or deep caves.

During 2002-2003 we found that the Fossil Beds hosted particularly high bat species diversity, including several very rare and declining species such as the pallid bat, a very large desert species known to eat scorpions and other tough desert invertebrates.

Another species, the spotted bat, virtually unknown in Oregon prior to our surveys, was found to be relatively common in the area, and was regularly heard (but not seen!) foraging in the John Day River canyon and tributaries where the park is located. This information and results from bat inventories done in other UCBN parks will be instrumental in helping these parks prepare for and respond to emerging threats to bats such as the disease known as white-nose syndrome.

The UCBN has published a number of technical reports and journal articles using bat inventory data and is assisting Craters of the Moon National Monument with long-term monitoring of hibernating bat populations in lava tubes(Rodhouse et al. 2012, Rodhouse et al. 2011, Rodhouse et al. 2008, Weller et al. 2007, and Rodhouse et al. 2005).