September 19, 2022 - 7:00 - 8:30
Virtual MCAS Community Program
Title: The Bats of San Luis Obispo County
Date: Monday, September 19th, 2022
Time: 7:00-8:30 PM
Presenter: Bill Haas, Director, Central Coast Bat Survey
ZOOM: info below…
California’s Central Coast hosts 19 species of bats. All are insectivorous. All are beneficial to local agriculture as agents of pest control – millions of dollars’ worth of benefit! None carry (and thus cannot transmit) the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Very few are hosts to the rabies virus. We have no vampire bats on the Central Coast, California, or anywhere in the USA (OK, maybe in a zoo somewhere!). Our bats live in cottonwood trees, in caves, and in crevices; they roost in bridges, belfries, and barns; they sequester under roof tiles, in attics, and the walls of old wooden structures. Some literally hang out in wind-sheltered porticos — especially stucco-walled entryways – where they dismember, devour, and digest their prey leaving homeowners the forensic evidence to solve the mystery of their nighttime mischief. And sorry, they don’t really eat a lot of mosquitos, but they do feast on a potpourri of scrumptious, mouth-watering exo-skeletonized fare that includes Mayflies, moths, and midges. Want to learn more? Bring your questions and a healthy appetite for learning even more about our Central Coast bats.
Like many Audubon members, Bill started his natural history adventure casually watching birds. His journey, though, started at 4 years of age, when he identified his first and still one of his favorite birds, the Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata). Later that year, he was attacked by a Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) while visiting a small neighborhood pond and was subsequently bombarded by a Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) while looking at his first found nest in the company of Mr. (actually, Dr.) Swift, an entomologist at the Smithsonian Institution who lived down the street in a big green house surrounded by “woods.” Fully sold on the benefits of birding, a couple of years and a few degrees later, he joined the Peace Corps, was sent to Belize, Central America, and began a teaching career that also included the development of a new science curriculum for a nation just achieving its independence. After developing the country’s first field ecology course for the Belize College of Arts, Sciences, and Technology (BELCAST), armed with mist nets, field glasses, an enthusiastic group of 12 students, and access to the Mountain Pine Ridge, he was left with a puzzle: what to do at night with enthusiastic students, a bunch of mist nets, and no nighttime plans. The rest, including this program, is history.
All MCAS Zoom Community Programs are free and open to the public. All ages are welcome.
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