Monitoring lesser horseshoe bat roosts using a motion-activated camera

Monitoring lesser horseshoe bat roosts using a motion-activated camera

BSG Ecology’s Gareth Lang is developing a motion sensitive infrared surveillance camera which is responsive enough to detect and monitor bat roosts. Currently, this is very hard to achieve using commercially available infra-red trail cameras, as the speed at which bats enter and leave roosts means that although these cameras may be triggered they seldom capture any footage. The video clip below, from March 2020, shows a lesser horseshoe bat entering and leaving a disused boiler in a church cellar near Monmouth, Wales.

Bats access the cellar through a gap above an external door (just out of view) and fly through the boiler flue, which is approximately 20 cm in diameter, a similar width to the wingspan of the bat. The flue drops sharply as it goes through the wall, preventing access for roost inspection. With such limited space for manoeuvre, the clip demonstrates the lesser horseshoe bat’s agility in flight.

In addition to providing a good test of the camera’s capabilities, the monitoring will provide information on how the roost is used throughout the year.

For further information on our bat survey capability please contact one of our offices.

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