Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Birds and Bats - Two Upcoming Events

Image by Ken Slade
"Birds are important because they keep systems in balance: they pollinate plants, disperse seeds, scavenge carcasses and recycle nutrients back into the earth. But they also feed our spirits, marking for us the passage of the seasons, moving us to create art and poetry, inspiring us to flight and reminding us that we are not only on, but of, this earth." —Melanie Driscoll, Director of bird conservation for the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi Flyway - from Why Do Birds Matter

Thus, I always like promoting our local birders: the El Paso/Trans-Pecos Audubon Society. They have an upcoming birdwatching this Saturday, June 24, in the upper valley. Nonmembers and beginners are always welcome. Just meet at 6:30 p.m. at Keystone Heritage Park, 4200Doniphan Drive. Carpool from Keystone and look for for Mississippi Kites, Monk Parakeets, Violet-crowned Parrots and others. Contact Mark Perkins at 915-637-3521 for more information. Be sure to take binoculars and perhaps a camera.

Brazilian free-tailed bat
The following Friday, June 30, at 7:15 p.m. Celebration of Our Mountains is hosting a bat watch. COM is offering this special June event because now is the best time to view bats. Urban Biologist, Lois Balin, will lead this event. For more information including location and contact, visit the Celebration of Our Mountains events page.

The most common species of bat in our region is the Brazilian free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis). Lois has a new bat detector so you may be able to identify other bat species as well.

"[T]he Brazilian free-tailed bat is a medium-sized bat that is native to the Americas, regarded as one of the most abundant mammals in North America. Its proclivity towards roosting in huge numbers at relatively few locations makes it vulnerable to habitat destruction in spite of its abundance. The bat is considered a species of special concern in California as a result of declining populations. It has been claimed to have the fastest horizontal speed (as opposed to e.g. stoop diving speed) of any animal, reaching top ground speeds of over 160 km/h [99.42 miles/hr.]; its actual air speed has not been measured." - Wickipedia

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