Bat Woman

(tranquil music) (tranquil music) – [Debbie] My name’s
Debbie Buecher. I’m a wildlife biologist, but I specialized
in studying bats. I grew up in northern Wisconsin, and we lived in
a very old house, and we had bats in our attic. We moved in when I was
seven years old so, since I was seven, I
have known about bats. I came out to Arizona
to go to college. I got my master’s
here in Sabino Canyon. I captured 17 different
species of bats. Looking at activity
levels, resource use, and the species diversity. (bats chirping) – [Debbie] Bats only
have one pup a year and so, with one pup a year, and in some species
there’s 40% mortality in the young of the year. So, it’s hard to
maintain a population. Someone goes in and
kills some bats, to recover that population
again is not easy. You can tell the
health of the ecosystem at how well the bats are doing. (slow, soft piano music) (bird chirping) – [Debbie] This is August first, and we really have
not had monsoons yet, so the creek has not flowed,
and that’s rather unusual. And normally, the
creek is flowing and there’s plenty of water, but, the bats are now stressed. Lactating females need
water through July and the effort to find water
could be stressing them. It’s a gorgeous
temperature in the water. Water here, if you set a net, you’re going to
catch a lot of bats because, they’re
not expecting it, the net was not here last night. (thunder rolling) – [Debbie] You
always take a bat out the reverse that it went in. And, I could tell that it
had come in from upstream, so, I came onto
this side of the net and plucked him out. So, this is the smallest bat
species in North America. They’re common
here in the canyon. They’re called a canyon bat because they love canyon lands, and they live in
little crevices. So this is, a little male. It’s a boy. So, I’ll get out of
the way of the net and let’s go process this. You’re going to
be nice and plump, yes, you’re going to
be nice and plump. All righty. And, that’s everything for you, we’ll put a dab, little
dab of white-out just to make sure we
don’t get you again. In Arizona, we have
28 different species, and, we’re a state
with one of the largest of species diversity. You ready to go? There you go. (bat wings fluttering) – Part of that is because of
our topographic variation. Sonoran Desert, Great Basin
Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert, but then we have grasslands
and all the Sky Islands and the Mogollon Rim, and so we have the
despact biotic communities which provide bats with
different micro-climate, temperatures,
humidity, food, prey, availability to water,
different roost sites, and, so that allows us
to have that diversity, cause there’s all those
niches for different species to make a living. But, we have a number of bats that are living right
here in Sabino Canyon, and tolerating the heat. – Oh, yes. You’re a very pleasant
animal, yes, you are. Yes, you are. (cough) – [Debbie] Bug’s in my throat. I don’t understand what
the bats see in ’em. We always joke, the buggier
the night, the better the bats. This is a tree bat. These are quite
uncommon, we don’t tend to get many of these. This is an extremely cool bat. (dramatic instrumental music) – [Debbie] Tonight we
caught the leaf-nosed bats, the Mexican
long-tongued bat, here, so they’re a nectar bat, they would be feeding
on the agaves. The evening bat, many,
many vespertilionines, and the free-tails, we caught the Brazilian
free-tailed bats. And, they’re probably
coming from the bridges in Tucson, coming
up here to get water and to feed on the insects. We had lots of insects. So, that’s bat food and so
there’s plenty for bats to eat. (Serene music) – [Debbie] I do a lot of
schools, public outreach. They can hear about bats and they think bats
are interesting, but, then they see
a bat in the hand and then they’re hooked. So, Eumops perotis is
the scientific name. Western mastiff is
the common name, and we call her Maggie. – [Group] Maggie. Oh, she’s sweet. (crowd whoa’s and
quiet clapping) – [Girl In Group] Go, Archie! (group quiet laughter) – [Debbie] Well,
it is dinner-time. (group quiet laughter) (bats chirping) – [Debbie] When a
bat echo locates, it shouts out a pulse of sound. And, that travels out
and it hits something and it comes back,
only in echos. And, it would be
like your walking, maybe everyone has, they
walk down a narrow canyon and they go, “Hello!” And, you can sometimes
hear, “Hello, hello, hello,” come back, and
all you’re hearing are the echos of your call, and that’s what bats are doing. (bat chirps) (crackling digital sound) (group background conversations) – [Pachynne] I was
really interested in this kind of field school, because there’s nothing
like this where I come from. But, I’ve always known like they were one of our
major pollinators for the Ha:sañ, the saguaro fruits, and to know that there’s
actually work being done and like, people staying
up late to even count them, I’m just really excited. – [Debbie] There are
over 13-hundred different kinds of bats, worldwide. And, they have different
colors, different shaped ears, they forage on different foods. All right. Bat number 30. We’ll see what that is. (dramatic music) – [Debbie] I’ve been studying
bats a bit over 30 years. I call myself the crazy bat lady because, I’m so
fascinated with bats. Bats have been good to me. Um-hmmm. Wildlife has been good to me. Yeah.

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