About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

First bats to die from white-nose syndrome in Michigan

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced recently that it has received the first reports this winter of bats dying from white-nose syndrome. Members of the public found dead bats outside the opening of an abandoned copper mine near Mohawk in Keweenaw County and reported it to DNR field staff.
Little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) with white-nose syndrome, New York
White-nose syndrome (WNS) was first documented in bats in New York in winter 2006-2007. The syndrome was named for the white fungus that sometimes develops on the muzzle of the bat, giving the appearance of a white nose. The syndrome was first discovered in Michigan in late winter 2014 in Alpena, Dickinson, Keweenaw, Mackinac and Ontonagon counties. Widespread die-offs of hibernating bats are expected in all of these counties, and potentially others, this winter.

“We understand the public will be concerned, and we share their concern for the plight of these bats,” said DNR wildlife veterinarian Dan O’Brien. “Unfortunately, there is nothing that the public can do to help the bats that are now dying."

WNS primarily affects bats during hibernation. Infected bats awaken prematurely from hibernation, deplete their fat reserves rapidly, and are unable to survive the winter. The public can help bat populations by staying out of mines and caves where bats hibernate.

The DNR asks that bat die-offs this winter be reported on the DNR website or by calling 517-336-5030. For more information on bats and white-nose syndrome, visit www.michigan.gov/wns and www.whitenosesyndrome.org.

Battle For Bats: Surviving White Nose Syndrome from Ravenswood Media on Vimeo.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations. For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr.