Hummingbird feeder owners asked to watch for bats - Tucson News Now

Hummingbird feeder owners asked to watch for bats

Bat at a hummingbird feeder (Source: project volunteer Doris Evan) Bat at a hummingbird feeder (Source: project volunteer Doris Evan)
(Source: project volunteer Doris Evan) (Source: project volunteer Doris Evan)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Do you own a hummingbird feeder and live in southern Arizona?  The Arizona Game and Fish Department is asking for you to be on the lookout for bats.  

AGFD and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife are looking for volunteers in southern Arizona that own those feeders to monitor the use of them by nectar-feeding bats. 

“If your hummingbird feeders mysteriously drained during the night last summer, the midnight raiders may have been bats,” said AGFD Regional Supervisor Raul Vega, in a news release. “Most of Arizona’s 28 bat species eat insects, but two species drink nectar and eat pollen from plants such as the saguaro and agaves. These bats are becoming common visitors to southern Arizona hummingbird feeders in late summer and early fall.” 

Volunteers will be asked to check their hummingbird feeders two or three times per week for signs of bat use and to provide information on bat activity at their location via a web-based data entry form. Photos of bats feeding are also being sought for species identification.

Interested in volunteering?  You can contact the project Volunteer Coordinator Emily Schobie of AGFD at escobie@azgfd.gov 

There are two bat species in southern Arizona that consume nectar, they are the lesser long-nosed bat (listed as federally endangered) and the Mexican long-tongued bat (listed in AZ as a species of concern).  

During the day these bats live in caves and mines and are beneficial pollinators, but at night they are on the search for food. Many have discovered the benefits of neighborhood hummingbird feeders. 

This is not a new phenomenon, over the years bats have been seen using these convenient feeders. According to the AGFD release in 2006 a large number of bats were seen foraging on the feeders in urban areas across Tucson.  

Bats visiting the feeders are now being detected more widely in southern Arizona, and volunteers are currently monitoring them as far north as Mammoth in Pinal County and as far south as Nogales in Santa Cruz County, and as far east as Benson and Sierra Vista in Cochise County. 
 
Habitat conservation planning efforts by the City of Tucson, Pima County, and the Town of Marana have spearheaded these efforts to evaluate potential effects to these bat species in the Tucson basin.  

In part due to project volunteers detecting significant increases in the lesser long-nosed bat population, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed removing the species from the federal endangered species list earlier this year. The de-listing of the species would mean a continued need to monitor bat activity and population levels.  

Additional information can be found at the project’s official website sponsored by the Town of Marana.  

The 2017 hummingbird feeder monitoring program website can be located at the following link: http://www.maranaaz.gov/bats

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