In our project, we are also investigating the effect of bat wing tears on flight behaviour. As part of our campaign, we have been asking if any bat carers have rehabilitated bats for us to film. We are interested in healthy bats and also those with recovered or recovering wing tear. On Thursday, the 6th of October 2016, we got a great opportunity to film bats at Lower Moss Wood Educational Nature Reserve, near Knutsford in Cheshire. Therefore, both Rana and Robyn headed off for the day.
Ray Jackson runs the nature reserve and animal hospital, and kindly volunteered his bats for our filming. In the wildlife hospital, Ray has a state-of-the-art bat flight cage, with a CCTV behavioural monitoring system. We filmed a few of the bats in this cage; however, the majority of the animals we filmed flying individually down the long corridors of the wildlife hospital. We filmed nine pipistrelles altogether in this way: four with healthy wings, and five with recovering wing tears. We used a high-speed video camera so we could really see and track all the tiny movements of the wings, and measure the angle, amplitude, frequency and curvature of the wings during flight. We are so pleased with the footage and have already started to track it, so we can extract these fine-scale measurements. We are really looking forward to seeing the results. In our pilot test last summer, we observed that recovered bats moved their wings slightly asymmetrically, even after wing tear healing.
We want to say a big thank you to Ray, who helped us to film the bats and start this part of the project. Lower Moss Wood is a great facility; the wildlife hospital is really new and the nature reserve is a fantastic place to come with educational groups. Indeed, many sessions are run there for schools, disabled visitors and environmental groups to come and enjoy the countryside and learn about the environment.
We are also still looking for swabs of bat wing tears, photos of wing tears and also filming of bat flight. If you are interested in being involved in our project, please do have a look through our website and contact us by email at email@example.com.