Combined Field Survey Techniques Workshops

Our Field Survey training workshops integrate both contact and non-contact survey techniques for studying bats during an immersive schedule.  Students learn capture methods using harp traps and single-, double-, and triple-high mist nets. Bat removal and handling skills are featured, as are in-field morphological species identification metrics. Non-contact survey methods using photo, video, and audio recordings are combined with physical captures to demonstrate species-specific survey protocols. Full-spectrum bat detectors are featured for collecting active, passive, and mobile transect acoustic data. Students receive guided, hands-on experience with the deployment of all survey methods, data-collection, analysis and reporting. Workshops are conducted at prime field locations across the country where all activities are a part of on-going long-term, bat surveys at each venue which can include tissue sampling, swabbing, PIT-tagging, radio-tracking, MOTUS tracking, and other survey methods.   


30 May thru 6 June - Southeastern Arizona
20 - 27 August - Great Basin Nevada

Program Details

The Field Survey training workshop combines classroom learning with in-field demonstrations and real-time data collection during daily, hands-on guided analysis and recording. This provides students with the full range of methods, techniques, and technologies available for surveying bats in any North American habitat. Multiple inventory and monitoring methods will be used each day, alone or in combination to illustrate how each have different capture biases. By the end of the week, participants will learn how to adequately sample a diverse habitat to document species occurrence, diversity, and relative abundance.

Instructors will illustrate important site-selection criteria for both capture and acoustic deployments and students will have opportunities to perfect micro-siting skills for harp traps, mist nets, and bat detectors. Other audio and video recorders will be demonstrated for recording bats at roosts, during evening out-flights, and near foraging areas. These efforts will be combined to provide a “big picture” of bat occupancy and allow students to apply various techniques to their home survey efforts.

Field Survey Curriculum and In-field Highlights

  • Introduction to Local Habitats and Bat Species
  • Bat Natural History and Morphological Identification
  • Capture Methods using Mist Nets and Harp Traps
  • Assessing Bat Presence and Population Size via Roost Surveys
  • Long-term Survey Considerations and Caveats
  • Species- and/or Situation-specific Survey and Monitoring Tips
  • File Organization & Data Management
  • Introduction to Echolocation & Recording Ultrasound
  • Overview of Bat Detector Types and Microphone Options
  • Site-Selection, Micro-siting, and Deployment Tips
  • Weather-proofing and Power & Memory Management
  • Post-processing Acoustic Files for Analysis
  • Viewing Full-spectrum Files in SonoBat and KaleidoscopePro
  • Generating AutoID Outputs from Each Software Package
  • Analyzing Results, Interpreting MLE Values & Determining Occupancy
  • Echolocation Call Characteristics of Local Bat Species
  • Using Qualitative Analysis during Manual Vetting Efforts
  • Performing Active Monitoring & Conducting Mobile Transects
  • Using Photography, Low-light and Night-vision Video, and Thermal Imaging
  • Threats to Bat Survival and Local Bat Management Case Studies
  • White-nose Syndrome Surveillance, Disinfection, and Decontamination Efforts
  • Tips for Success & Improving Combined Survey Efforts
  • Applying National Bat Monitoring Protocols for Bat Conservation and Management

In-field Demonstrations and Practicums will vary at each venue and according to group interests and/or local conditions during the training. Please contact us any time if you have specific training goals you would like the instructors to address.  

Important Notes: 

  1. Proof of current Rabies vaccination or acceptable titre level is required for any students wishing to handle bats. Additional information about rabies pre-exposure vaccination is available here. (Students do not have to handle bats if they prefer to concentrate on other survey methods during the training.) 
  2. Venues may require students to be fully-vaccinated and/or boosted against COVID-19. Masks may be required during indoor instruction and while handling bats according to local ordinances. 
  3. A laptop with the Microsoft Office suite is strongly suggested for all students. All capture and recording equipment is provided.
  4. Bat detectors are available to borrow, but students are also encouraged to bring their own to use or compare with other models.
  5. Students will receive download instructions for trial versions of all acoustic analysis software.
  6. A sample agenda is available on-line for review.

Students are encouraged to bring their own acoustic data and/or any questions about hardware, firmware, software or survey protocols for 1-on-1 “geek sessions” with the instructors.