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Aug 22, 2012 6:01 PM by Jake Merriman

Arizona Game and Fish wants your help tracking bats

TUCSON - The Arizona Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are looking for the public's help with the Nighttime Hummingbird Feeder Bat Monitoring Project as it continues for 2012.

According to a news release from the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the federally endangered Lesser long-nosed bats, and the Mexican long-tongued bats, migrate north from Mexico and arrive in southern Arizona as the saguaro and the agave begin to bloom. The bats drink nectar from hummingbird feeders, and eat pollen and fruits from plants like the saguaro and the agave, unlike most of Arizona's 28 bats, which eat insects.

In previous years the public has volunteered many hours each summer to monitor hummingbird feeders for the Lesser long-nosed bats and the Mexican long-tongued bats. These observations and photographs provide valuable information that allows for better understanding of the bats' behaviors.

The project aims to understand when these two bats arrive in southern Arizona, determine foraging habits and movement patterns, and record when the migratory species leave Arizona.

"If you enjoy watchable wildlife and sitting on your porch during summer evenings, please consider volunteering your time for this worthy cause," said AGFD Wildlife Specialist Shawn Lowery. "Your efforts will allow wildlife and resource managers in Arizona to better understand the ecology of these species."

Those who wish to contribute can visit the website, which is sponsored by the Town of Marana and allows participants to sign up as volunteers and download this year's monitoring protocol information, at: http://www.marana.com/bats

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