23rd August 2019

Saturday the 24th of August is the 23rd International Bat Night. The Bat Night has taken place every year since 1997 in more than 30 countries on the last full weekend of August. This year we have some very special news to share with you from the National Nathusius' Pipistrelle Project and one which demonstrates the fact that wildlife conservation is so often international in nature.

A female Nathusius’ pipistrelle which was ringed by the Northumberland Bat Group on the 20th of April 2017 as part of the National Nathusius’ Pipistrelle Project has shown up in Poland! This special bat was ringed as part of the National Nathusius' Pipistrelle Project which is collecting information on the status of this species in the UK and its migratory movements. On the 10th of May 2019 the bat was found on the wall of a building (Forest Directorate) by Polish foresters in the town of Szczecinek. The team at the directorate took the details from the ring before releasing the bat into the wild again. This amazing find was reported to the Bat Conservation Trust in the last two days.

A flight without borders

The female Nathusius' pipistrelle photographed by its finders in Poland (photo by Mariusz Tylicki)

This small bat species weighs an average of 8g which is about the same as a 50p coin. It is a truly remarkable flier. This particular individual would have flown a minimum of 1190Km as the crow flies, or most likely further as the bat flies! Its flight is most likely to have gone through a minimum of four countries across the European continent.

A flight without borders

Ringed Nathusius’ pipistrelle (Photo by Hazel Makepeace)

You can find out more about the National Nathusius' Pipistrelle Project here: https://www.bats.org.uk/our-work/national-bat-monitoring-programme/surveys/national-nathusius-pipistrelle-survey

Migration patterns of Nathusius’ pipistrelle are relatively well known in mainland Europe but the movements of bats in and out of the UK and their migration routes and origins are not known. This project will provide the first attempt to understand the migratory activity of Nathusius’ pipistrelles in the UK through stable hydrogen isotope analysis and will contribute to the overall understanding of migration across its distribution.

Nathusius’ pipistrelle has been identified to be at high risk of mortality from wind turbines in Europe. Because Nathusius’ pipistrelle is a migratory species, wind turbines have the potential to impact upon bat populations at a range of geographical scales. This project will provide vital information on the migratory origins of Nathusius’ pipistrelles in the UK and allow us to assess the potential threat of wind turbines to bat populations both in the UK and beyond.

The recorded range expansion of Nathusius’ pipistrelle has been shown to be linked to climate change and future climate change is predicted to have further impact on this species’ distribution. Comprehensive information on the distribution and status of the species in the UK currently is therefore essential to determine a full understanding of the effects of future climate change and to take appropriate action to ensure the conservation of this species in the UK.