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The British Bat Survey

Bat monitoring technology has improved rapidly since the inception of the National Bat Monitoring Programme (NBMP) in 1996. BCT are working with researchers from University College London, Oxford University and the British Trust for Ornithology to develop a new survey for the NBMP, the British Bat Survey, which will utilise the latest developments in acoustic sensor design, automated call recognition and interactive volunteer feedback. We aim to pilot aspects of this survey in 2017 and 2018. Here is some of the work underway so far:

Scottish pilot of the British Bat Survey

Would you like to know which species of bat are found in your local area while also testing out an innovative new survey and contributing valuable data that can be used to monitor how our bat populations are faring? We are running a pilot of the British Bat Survey in Scotland in collaboration with the British Trust for Ornithology and supported by Scottish Natural Heritage, and anyone can take part, no experience required! The survey involves deploying a ‘static’ bat detector at a single location for three nights, then sending the recordings to us to analyse. We have set up two equipment lending centres, in Grangemouth and Fife, from which you can borrow bat detecting equipment for a few days to take part in the survey. In return we then let you know what species were recorded.

To take part in this survey please go here to reserve a bat detector. Full participation instructions are provided with the equipment.

The world’s first end-to-end system for monitoring bats at national and international scales

Eventually we aim to launch the British Bat Survey nationally. To enable this the project team are developing an automated, end-to-end system for monitoring bats. This system will include a low-cost full spectrum bat detector, an app that allows volunteers to send audio recordings to a central server for processing, a suite of software algorithms that automatically detect and classify bat calls to species and a portal to feed the results back to volunteers. This system will be integrated into the British Bat Survey, and as much of the technology as possible will open source.

Designing a new interactive results portal

We are working with Dr Stuart Newson and colleagues at the British Trust for Ornithology to develop an online portal that will provide rapid and engaging feedback to British Bat Survey volunteers. To begin this process we have gathered input from a sample of existing NBMP volunteers and bat groups via a questionnaire and a workshop which took place on the 6th of August.

Trialling a new low-cost full spectrum acoustic sensor

We are working with a team of researchers led by Professor Alex Rogers at the University of Oxford to trial the use of Audiomoth acoustic sensors for bat population monitoring. In 2017 we are providing Audiomoths to bat groups taking part in our ‘Putting UK Woodland Bats on the Map’ project. This will allow us to assess the usability, sensitivity and recording quality of the detector.

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Bat Helpline

0345 1300 228