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Alberta Bats Community Science Program

While many of us are often close to bats, they are rarely seen and even more rarely create problems. The Alberta Community Bat Program is part of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Western Canada's Bat Conservation Program, providing research, protection, and conservation efforts for Alberta's bats.

Bats need a safe, warm place to rest and raise their young. Mothers often live in groups called maternity colonies while males typically roost along during the summer. This means that any groups of bats spotted are likely to be maternity colonies. 

Structures that are home to maternity colonies are important for the growth and survival of bat pups, and knowing the locations of these colonies is crucial to help monitor bat populations and fill in knowledge gaps. By gaining a better understanding of Alberta's bats, threats can be identified and more effective conservation strategies can be put in place. 

As many bats roost in buildings on private land, public participate is critical to the success of research and monitoring efforts. If you have bats living on your property, please consider taking part in the Alberta Bats Community Science Project

To participate there are a variety of steps you can take.

Step 1: Locate or Build a Roost

Suitable roosts include areas where bats regularly reside, such as:

  • Buildings including old barns, attics, under siding etc.
  • Bridges
  • Bat Houses
  • Patio Umbrellas
  • Tree Crevices or under Bark
  • Rock Crevices or Caves

If you don't know of any bat roosts, you can Install a Bat House and provide information on how it does. Even information on non-use is important.

Step 2: Document the Roost

Collect basic information about the roost, including:

  • Location (coordinates from mapping software or GPS unit)
  • Date
  • Brief description of the roost and bat activity
  • Photos (if possible)

It is preferred that observations are provided on a Roost Report Form and submitted to, along with any photographs.

Optional: Ongoing monitoring of the roost can provide valuable data needed for population assessments. If possible, participants are encouraged to count bats exiting from roosts between 1-4 times during the summer period. 

Step 3 (optional): Send a Guano Sample 

A Guano Sample (bat feces) may help researchers to identify the type of species using the roost. When collecting any samples, please make sure to follow Safety and DNA Sampling Protocols

Other Ways to Participate

If you want to participate but don't have a roost or the means to create one, you can still provide random observations that can be used to help improve bat management in Alberta. Reporting observations can help determine seasonal timing, distribution, and habitat use of bats. Random observations can be submitted online using a Random Bat Observations Form

Information Collected to Date

The information collected to date has shown that approximately 86% of reported roosts are used by Little Brown Myotis Bats, with Big Brown Bats accounting for the majority of the remaining 14%. These reports are most common in the Calgary to Edmonton corridor, with both buildings and bat houses the most reported habitats. Natural roosts are rarely reported, although this is likely because they are difficult to find. Patio Umbrellas and Bridges are also rarely reported, despite being known to be common roosting sites.

Reported roosts have been key locations for the collection of guano samples, which have been used to test for Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats, as well as to examine the exposure of bats to neonicotinoid-based pesticides, and identify bat dietary patterns. 

More information about bats, including habitats, identification, and what to do if you spot a bat, can be found at the Alberta Community Bat Program website. 

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