Facebook post by University of Helsinki

Greetings from Hanko, the southernmost tip of Finland! 👋 This is where our BatLab research group made bat research history in August! 🦇 We got to follow the research field trip of Veronika Laine and the research group BatLab Finland, who are studying the Nathusius’s pipistrelle bat closer to understand its migration and roosting patterns. They have been ringing and observing ringed bats that cross the Hanko peninsula for a couple of years now. The BatLab group of Luonnontieteellinen museo is part of a larger consortium called Disease on Wings (😱). Their aim is to predict the effects of climate change on the occurrence of animal-transmitted diseases in Finland. Ringing bats? Yes, you read it right. Bats are caught with nets and ringed, just like birds. Birds get their rings around their ankles, but bats will get small aluminium rings around their arm. Every ring has a unique ID that tells where and when the bat was ringed and by whom. In Finland, we have 13 bat species. Five of them are migrating. BatLab is especially interested in the Nathusius’s pipistrelle, which has become increasingly common in Finland in the last 10 years. This bat spends summers roosting mostly in Southern Finland. In late August, it starts its migration to Central Europe where it will hibernate over winter. It arrives back in Finland in late spring. Late August is also the season for bat migration studies at Hanko. Tens of bats can fly through Hanko to cross the Baltic Sea in one night. Or it used to be like that. This year had been really quiet at the station. The BatLab team didn’t catch any migrating bats, only local species and some birds. And they were so excited for this season! Unfortunately, no luck with migrating bats. That is, until the last night arrived. Then they hit the jackpot! On the last night, the team decided to try a different catching place. Early evening was quiet, but around midnight, finally, they got a Nathusius’s pipistrelle! The bat was ringed and released so that it could continue its trip. But the night wasn’t done! Soon after, Veronika went to check the net again and saw a big bat. “That’s a weird-looking bat”, she thought. With the help of her colleague Ville, she lowered the nets and they realized they’d caught a common noctule. A species that has never before been caught in Finland! We only have a few sound and visual sightings of this bat and some museum specimens. The common noctule is now carrying Ville’s ring. Hopefully, in the coming years we will know more about its movements. Find out more what kind of research BatLab Finland is doing on their website! 👇 https://batlabfinland.wordpress.com/