July 28, 2008
Western Big Eared Bat Found in Barn
Posted by Steve N.
I finally identified this bat. Western Big Eared Bat (Plecotus townsendii). Look at those funky long ears! At first I thought it was a Long Eared Bat (Myotis Evotis), but their pelage is darker and the ears not as long. It is using the barn, the room next to the swallow's nest, for a day roost. This bat is all by his/her self and has been hanging out (no pun intended) on the ceiling. We are very lucky to have it occupying our barn because they are usually seen east of the Cascades. In fact, on the east coast of the U.S. these bats are endangered. I wonder how far it came to move into our barn...
The scats I found range from about 1/8 in.-3/4 in. long. Note the color of the scat in the photo below. These bats feed primarily on moths. He/she found a great spot. I hit and kill about 50 moths every night driving up the road to the campus.
Getting a decent picture of this bat was a challenge. I tried to get close a few times and the bat would fly around the room, up and down, fast and slow. A few times it flew so close to my head I felt the wind produced by its flapping wings. Western Big Ears are extremely versatile in flight. They vary from slow, long wing flaps (cruising) to quick and short flaps (hunting). They have even been seen hovering!
-Steve (photos courtesy of author)
2. Maser, Chris. 1998. Mammals of the Pacific Northwest. Oregon State University Press