The Sacramento District Review – October 2012

In this Month’s Issue:
Emperors of the Night Sky
Kids Corner
Evening Lecture Series
The Ranger’s Report


The Sacramento District Review is a monthly newsletter prepared by the Sacramento Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest.


 

Emperors of the Night Sky

-Rueben Gay

Big Brown Bat, Eptesicus fuscus Photo By: Rueben Gay

Have you ever seen a furry creature fly right past you at the break of dawn or hear a chatter of high pitch squeaking sounds fly over you as you stand near your camp fire? If so, there is a high possibility that you are in the presence of some of the most fascinating yet mysterious creatures found here on the Lincoln National Forest, BATS!!

The ability to fly has enabled bats to become one of earths most widely distributed groups of mammals. With the exception of the Arctic, the Antarctic and a few isolated oceanic islands, bats exist all over the world. As of 2012, there are approximately 27 species of bats found in New Mexico and 19 are listed for protection through Federal or State regulations. Of these 27 species, 13 are found within the Sacramento Mountains.

These bats are capable of living in all vegetation types and elevation ranges. Different species select different habitats during different seasons, ranging from mountains to deserts. However, bat
habitats must have two basic requirements: roosts, where they spend the day or hibernate, and areas for foraging. Bat roosts can be in a variety of places such as crevices, hollows, foliage and even human-made structures. In addition, water availability, down woody material and snags are all essential habitat components for bats.

The majority of bats are nocturnal creatures. Their daylight hours are spent grooming and sleeping. They hunt during the nighttime hours, giving them the title as “Emperors of the Night”. When foraging at night, bats use echolocation to locate and catch their prey. When bats fly, they produce a constant stream of high-pitched sounds only bats are able to hear.
When the sound waves hit an insect or another animal, the echoes bounce back to the bat and guide them to the prey.

This special ability to use echolocation to detect prey not only assists the bats, but it also serves as a great tool for humans in the battle against unwanted insects in agricultural fields.

Insect-eating bats in the United States likely save the U.S. agricultural industry at least $3 billion a year, according to an analysis published in Science magazine, Policy Forum March 2011. Noticeable economic losses to North American agriculture could occur in the next 4 to 5 years as a result of emerging threats to bat populations.

As bats take what they need from their habitats, they also play a major role in keeping ecosystems healthy and in balance. For instance, bats in the Sacramento Mountains can eat thousands of insects on a nightly basis. In addition, cave-roosting bats are vital due to the guano (bat waste) they provide for cave ecosystems and is often the basis of a cave’s food chain. It is usually found sprinkled on the outside of homes and on window sills just below a bat entry point. Bat guano is used by micro-organisms and invertebrates that become food for fish, salamanders and frogs, which in turn becomes food for larger animals including hawks, raccoons, skunks, and owls.

Townsend’s Big-eared Bat, Corynorhinus townsendii Photo by: Quentin Hays, Bat Conservation, Inc.

How to attract bats to my community?
Many people put up bat houses to attract bats just as one would put up a birdhouse to attract birds. Bat houses are simple and can be made from scratch, kits, or purchased ready made. Plans and guidelines for bat houses can be found on many web sites. A well known organization which promotes the use of bat houses is Bat Conservation International, Inc. (www.batcon.org). They conduct and support science-based conservation efforts around the world, working with many partners and colleagues, like the Forest Service. These innovative programs combine research and education and help direct conservation to ensure bats are helping to maintain a healthy environment and benefit economies far into the future.


 

Kids Corner

By J. Fink

Did You Know?

  • Bats are the only mammals able to fly.
  • A single bat can eat up to 1000 mosquitoes in a single hour.
  • Bats groom themselves almost constantly to keep their fur soft and clean.
  • There are over 1,100 know species of bats.  Most of them are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
  • The world’s smallest mammal is the bumblebee bat of Thailand which weighs about as much as a dime.

 

Egg Carton Bats

Craft Project:

Egg Carton Bats

  Materials:

-Egg carton(s)

-Scissors

-Crayons or markers

-Ribbon or rubber band

-Black craft paint (optional)

-Wiggly eyes (optional)

 

Directions:
1. separate 3 egg cups from the carton.

2. Cut out part of the 2 outside cups to resemble bat wings.

3. Decorate your bat: add eyes and a mouth if desired.

4. Punch a small hole in the top of the middle cup.

5. Poke the ribbon or rubber band through the hole and tie or tape underneath.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!!


One of the nicest beds I know
Isn’t a bed of soft white snow.
Isn’t a bed of cool green grass
After the noisy
mowers pass.
Isn’t a bed of yellow hay
Making me itch for half a day
But autumn leaves in a pile that high,
Deep and smelling like fall and dry.
That’s the bed where I like to lie
And watch the flutters of Fall go by.

~by Aileen Fisher 

 


 

Evening Lecture Series

Our Evening Lecture Series had another great crowd on September 13th for the lecture on lifecycles of the forest.

The October Lecture Series topic is “How to Take Great Wildlife Photos.” Get helpful tips on how to be in the right place at the right time, where to go, respect for wildlife, safety, camouflage and more!

Please join us at the Sacramento Ranger District from 6:00-7:00 p.m. at the district office, #4 Lost Lodge Road in Cloudcroft on October 11th. Upcoming Lecture Series dates: November 9th – ‘Prehistoric Grinding Technology and Methods.’ *The November lecture will start at 6:00 pm. This will be our last lecture for the year. We will resume the series in March 2013. For additional information please call 575-682-2551.


One day I found two pumpkin seeds.
I planted one and pulled the weeds.
It sprouted roots and a big, long vine.
A pumpkin grew; I called it mine.
The pumpkin was quite round and fat.
(I really am quite proud of that.)
But there is something I’ll admit
That has me worried just a bit.
I ate the other seed, you see.
Now will it grow inside of me?
(I’m so relieved since I have found
That pumpkins only grow in the ground!)

-Author Unknown


The Ranger’s Report

James Duran, District Ranger


As temperatures cool down and the forest transitions into fall, I am hopeful that we will have the influence of El Nino this winter with above-average precipitation. This would not only be good for our forests and the spring runoff, but it would also be a boost to our economic base in the Sacramento Mountains – tourism.

We are also in a shift to the seasons for football, hunting and the Presidential election. While successes in all of these areas may depend upon hard work, team building and good fortune, the Presidential election is dependent upon the American people choosing the candidate whom they feel holds the best vision and ability to lead our great nation.

For the Forest Service, the next four-year term of Presidential leadership will provide our agency with direction through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and down our chain of command to each National Forest and the local home units. With each election comes an opportunity for our elected members of Congress to review programs, regulations, and policies to ensure that the visions of their constituents for public land management are being met. Our Senators and Representatives will have to make some difficult choices on which programs to fund, which programs to cut and on which areas to put the most emphasis. Although we know these decisions will impact the Lincoln National Forest, it is difficult at this time to determine what changes will occur.

I feel sure that one factor will remain unchanged, however;   Forest Service employees will continue to strive for excellence in their work to carry out the agency’s mission to the best of their ability. Much of the pace at which we care for the land in support of this mission is dependent upon the funding, resources and staffing that we are provided, as well as the delegations of authority we receive in order to make decisions on behalf of the federal government.

Undoubtedly, our progress and accomplishments are certainly bolstered by public support; in fact, progress and support go hand-in-hand, as each sustains the other. Our employees on the Sacramento Ranger District are also residents in and around our mountain community. We share your love and concern for our forest, as much in our work as in our personal lives.

Write a letter to the Ranger

If you’ve ever wondered about timber harvests, endangered species, off-road vehicle use, or other natural resource management topics, this is your opportunity to get your answer.Individuals aspiring to acquire knowledge about the US Forest Service are encouraged to escape the fast-paced world of technology and write a good old-fashioned letter to the Ranger. If you would like to write a letter to James Duran, Sacramento District Ranger, please mail it to:  P.O. Box 288, Cloudcroft, NM 88317.