GroundquestMSA wrote:Also, I am realizing that I am woefully ignorant when it comes to identifying bats. Can anyone point me to a good resource of info?
The BCI Field Guide to Eastern Cave Bats
is dirt-cheap, tiny, and printed on mud-proof paper, so you won't feel bad bringing it in cave to help you ID bats. Unfortunately, our cave bats are difficult to tell apart without experience seeing all of them to get an idea of their relative similarities and differences.
The easiest for you to identify in Ohio will be:
- the Tri-Colored Bat (aka Eastern Pipistrelle) with its small, hunched body with "poor posture" and give-away pink forearms, sometimes covered with condensation in the winter
- the large body and luxurious dog-fur of the Big Brown Bat
- and, if you're down on the Kentucky border of Ohio, the gigantic, curled back ears of the Rafinesque's Big-Eared Bat
- everything else is likely to be "Myotis species"... if they're clustered super-dense with pinkish noses, they may
be Indiana Bats, less-dense (but still dense!) clusters or singles with pronounced lighter color bellies are likely
to be Little Browns, tiny with a raccoon mask and all-by-his-self is probably
a Small-Footed Myotis... but identifying Myotis species is difficult even with practice, and sometimes even with the bat in hand*.
*Do not handle bats in the name of "citizen science", for your own safety, and for the bat's safety.