Take Part

Welcome to the 2019 British Bat Survey!

The British Bat Survey is now closed to new signups for the 2019 season, as all AudioMoths have been reserved. Please keep an eye on on our website and social media for news of the 2020 season.

This year we will be trialling the survey in SW Britain. The aims of this year's trial are to

  • Find out how many nights of AudioMoth surveys are required to collect enough data to estimate population trends for our rarer bat species.
  • Test the system we will be using to classify AudioMoth recordings to species or genus level.

To do this we need your help! For this year's trial we would like you to use an AudioMoth to survey a single location for as many non-consecutive nights as possible between 1st July and 11th August 2019. We will provide you with an AudioMoth, will process your recordings, and at the end of the survey we will send you a list of all the bat passes and species that you have detected.

We will use the data you collect to determine the best survey methods for a larger scale roll-out of the British Bat Survey next year; the survey methods used next year will not be the same as the methods used this year. Thank you for taking part, your help will ensure this world leading citizen-science survey achieves the most for bat conservation.

To take part follow the steps below.

Step 1. Sign up and select your 1km survey square

The British Bat Survey is now closed to new signups for the 2019 season, as all AudioMoths have been reserved. Please keep an eye on on our website and social media for news of the 2020 season.

To find out how we protect and use your personal information please read BCT's privacy policy

In line with the National Bat Monitoring Programme's data access policy, bat records collected by the British Bat Survey will be made available on the NBN Atlas at 1km resolution.

Step 2. Identify a suitable survey point

Visit your 1km survey square to identify a suitable location to deploy your AudioMoth. It is important that we sample habitats randomly, so please deploy your AudioMoth as close to the centre of your 1km square as possible. Your survey point should also be:

  • Safe to access.
  • Secure enough to leave an AudioMoth overnight.
  • Not lit be artificial light at night.
  • At least 1.5m away from:
    • Vegetation or other obstructions that could mask bat calls.
    • Hard surfaces such as tree trunks or walls, which can cause echos that distort recordings.
    • Water - the reflections of sound off the water's surface can distort recordings.

If your survey point is on private land or council owned land please get permission from the landowner to carry out the survey. Click here for tips on getting landowner permission. Bear in mind that we would like you to survey the location on multiple nights (see step 8).

Step 3. Receive your survey kit

We will send you a survey kit containing an AudioMoth, a weatherproof case and memory cards. It will arrive with you by the end of June.

Please retain the padded envelope the AudioMoth is sent in. You will need it to protect the AudioMoth and case when travelling to your survey point, and to return the AudioMoth to us at the end of the survey season.

You will need to purchase a two metre pole and three AA batteries:

  1. For the British Bat Survey the AudioMoth should be deployed on a pole 2m above the ground. Due to their bulky nature we are unable to send poles in the post. The following make an ideal pole, secured if necessary with a few guy ropes, and can be purchased for a few pounds online or from many high street shops, DIY stores or garden centres:
    • Extendable/telescopic laundry/clothes prop.
    • Study bamboo cane (at least 2m high, approximately 2cm in diameter at base and no less than 5cm diameter at height).
    • Steel garden stake
    • Ranging pole/rod.
  2. Due to EU shipping regulations we are unable to send batteries in the post. Due to the high power demand of ultrasonic recording we recommend Energizer Ultimate Lithium AA.

Step 4. Set up your AudioMoth

Your AudioMoth is configured very simply by pressing a single button. This tells it when to start recording, when to stop recording and what recording settings to use. Click here to configure your AudioMoth for the British Bat Survey.

Step 5. Carry out a survey

Click here for instructions on carrying out a survey

Click below (coming soon) to download the survey pack containing the survey instructions, survey form and risk assessment.

Step 6. Send us the details of your survey point

Click here to submit the details of your survey point.

Step 7. Return your memory card(s) to BCT

Return your memory card to us as soon as possible after your survey. Remove the memory card from the AudioMoth and place the card into its black plastic adapter. Place the adapter into one of the FREEPOST envelopes provided and write your survey point name on the back of the envelope. Without your survey point name we will be unable to process you recordings. Post back to BCT as soon as possible, you do not need to wait to complete subsequent nights of surveys.

We will analyse your recordings to identify the bats you have detected. Please keep a copy of your recordings if you would like to retain them.

Step 8. Repeat the survey on as many non-consecutive nights as possible

Please repeat the survey at your survey point on as many non-consecutive nights as you are able, between 1st July and 11th August 2019 inclusive. We recognise that everyone's capacity varies so we have not set a minimum and maximum number of surveys, we are grateful for all your efforts. As a guide, the most valuable data will be from sites surveyed on between four and ten nights. We have supplied four memory cards in each survey kit and will send you further memory cards as required, please contact britishbatsurvey@bats.org.uk

It's important to leave at least one night between surveys. Please do not undertake surveys on consecutive nights.

Getting your results

At the end of the survey we will email you a list of all the bat passes and species that you have detected at your survey point.

A summary of the results of the 2019 British Bat Survey will be available here

We will contact you later in the year to arrange the return of your survey kit.

Thank you for taking part!

Questions or problems? Please contact britishbatsurvey@bats.org.uk

Next: Getting landowner permission