Thermal Imaging Surveys for Bats

During the summer, LSC ecologists were commissioned to undertake bat surveys of some large bridges where the size and extent of the structures meant that surveyors were unable to position themselves close to potential points of emergence. Our solution was to use thermal imaging cameras to record the length of the structures and watch for bats entering or leaving under cover of darkness.

The thermal imaging cameras do not need an external light source but instead rely on the infra red light emitted by the objects in view. This avoids many of the issues associated with standard infra-red video recording. We used the Flir T540 units on this project.

The bridge structures did not support roosting bats, but we did identify swifts using holes in the centre of the structures as roost sites with the birds returning at dusk - this is something we would not have been able to record without these cameras and helped us understand the constraints associated with project timeframes.

The potential of these cameras was impressive - we undertook some in-house training at a local reservoir prior to commencing the surveys and recorded the following footage of Daubenton’s bats foraging close over the water’s surface. Other potential applications would include surveys for badgers, barn owls and other nocturnal animals.

Get in touch with us to discuss this survey methodology more, or for a quote on how we can support you with your projects!