George Dasher wrote:Are there dead bats (littering the floor) or are the bats "missing?"
11,000 dead bats should equal a lot of dead bodies...
Excellent question George. You would think that that number of dead bats would also lead to a ton of potential data collection opportunities.
For those that may be summarily dismissing the "warming" theory related to these deaths, other than this last fall, when was the last time in the northeast you remember lush green leaves on the trees well into November, and some into December? This last fall I noticed bats still flying outside my house well after all the insects were long dead. If you don't remember, I was the one with the 167+ bat colony living in my house, so I am EXTREMELY familiar with their habbits, at least pertaining to my colony. I know my bats are still alive, as I heard them in my wall a few weeks ago.
I personally have never seen as many bats flying around after the insects were gone as I did this last year. I know that's not a scientific study, but it is my personal first hand experience with this last fall.
For reference, I live in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, near Bethlehem. I'm not sure if similar observations were made in NY or VT, but in my area of PA I am alarmed by how late bats have been active.
Also, our grotto went to Cave Rat Cave last President's Day Weekend and I saw more bats active in the cave than I have EVER seen in the winter before. Even got a great view of what looked like two bats trying to make more little bats. It seems to me that the increased bat activit late in the season and during the winter should not be dismissed, and may play a large roll in the future.
Anyone that thinks warming can't suddenly effect a new specices just needs to ask a frog, or a polar bear.
Thanks again to all who are studying this issue and working to find our what is causing this. Overall, I agree that erring on the side of caution is a good thing.