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A maternity colony of Townsend’s big-eared bats, Corynorhinus townsendii Smyth, Marianne Schovsbo

Abstract

The Townsend's big-eared bat, Corynorhinus townsendii, is a threatened species in British Columbia (BC), Canada. During the summer of 1998, I studied one of the few maternity colonies of C. townsendii found in the province, in a stable at Minnekhada Regional Park, Coquitlam, BC. Anabat bat detectors, tape recorders and a night vision scope were used to gather life history information, assess sensitivity of bats to disturbances and examine activity at the colony. Corynorhinus townsendii appeared to tolerate human activities typical of those at stables, but shifts in roost location within the stable coincided with some disturbances. Activity at the colony entrances, based on recorded calls, increased during the parturition and early lactation periods and emergence time was related to time of sunset. I experimentally manipulated lights in the stable corridors and found that C. townsendii were recorded less in lit areas than unlit areas of the stable. In comparing activity at fragmented forest riparian edge versus contiguous forest riparian edges, I detected more calls of C. townsendii at fragmented forest riparian edges. During the parturition and early lactation periods, I detected more calls of C. townsendii at fragmented forest riparian edges near the colony than at fragmented forest riparian edges far from the colony. The colony at Minnekhada Regional Park should be managed to assist in conservation of C. townsendii in BC. Domestic cats should be removed from the stable to reduce predation on bats. As well, roosting sites and associated flight corridors should be protected to ensure that suitable habitat continues to be provided in the stable.

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