SonoBat Field
Techniques Workshop

Agua Caliente Regional Park • Tucson, AZ
April 15-April 18, 2011

The SonoBat software package, developed by Joe Szewczak (Arcata CA), is one of the premiere bat echolocation signal analysis packages available to display, analyze, and discriminate between bat calls. The SonoBat Field Techniques Workshop in Tucson takes advantage of the rich local bat diversity to highlight state-of-the-art acoustic monitoring techniques. This workshop provides intensive training in the use and implementation of SonoBat for recording bat echolocation calls and designing acoustic inventories that emphasize full-spectrum acoustic techniques as recommended by the new USFWS guidelines for Wind and Wildlife when species ID is important.


Left: Macrotus californicus call sequence recorded near Agua Caliente Park.

Below: Macrotus californicus captured near Agua Caliente Park.


Program Details
Agua Caliente, meaning hot water, is a unique 101-acre park with a perennial warm spring, located on the far northeast side of Tucson. Literally an oasis in the desert, Agua Caliente contains spring-fed ponds that support diverse wildlife and fish populations, as well as attract many of the 29 bat species known from Arizona. By partnering with our local host at Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation (NRPR), we will highlight park resources at Agua Caliente and demonstrate protocols for implementing bat inventory and monitoring programs with a special focus on western bat species and habitats.

The workshop combines indoor classroom lectures and discussions with outdoor field outings. Participants receive an introduction to the use of SonoBat software for conducing acoustic monitoring and inventories as well as a comprehensive understanding of common echolocation call characteristics used for species identification. Guided classroom demonstrations and hands-on experience with equipment in the field will acquaint participants with a full range of methods, techniques, and technologies available for acoustic analysis. See below for a complete list of lecture and discussion topics, demonstrations, and evening field activities. Daily goals and objectives for the course are described more fully at the bottom of this page. A detailed agenda will be provided to all registered participants prior to the course.

The SonoBat Field Techniques Workshop is open to biologists and naturalists from federal, state, or local agencies, college and/or graduate students, and other professionals or enthusiasts with a desire to learn more about full-spectrum echolocation recording and bat call analysis using SonoBat software.

One session: April 15-18, 2011 (Friday-Monday). Class size: Limited to 20 participants. Location: Auga Caliente Regional Park, Tucson AZ


Workshop Instructors:
Joe Szewczak,
B.S.E. (1980) Duke University, Ph.D. (1991) Brown University, is an Associate Professor at Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA. His research has investigated the physiological capabilities of bats and other small mammals, from cold hibernative torpor to the intense demands of flight and high altitude, and the physiological ecology of bats,. His teaching includes “Using SonoBat for Non-invasive Bat Monitoring” for the University of California, “Biology of the Chiroptera” at Humboldt State University, and “The Ecology and Conservation of California Bats” through San Francisco State University. Joe has also taught acoustic monitoring workshops for BCI and other groups in California, Oregon, Arizona, Washington, South Dakota, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. He is the developer of SonoBat software to analyze and interpret bat echolocation calls and is currently developing automated bird and bat acoustic monitoring and identification methods for the Department of Defense (SERDP) and other agencies.

Janet Tyburec, B.A. (1989) Trinity University, a full-time employee at Bat Conservation International, Inc. (BCI), from 1989 thru September 2002, has been involved in the structure and execution of training workshops since the inception of BCI's workshop efforts in 1992. She has been extensively trained by BCI founder, Merlin D. Tuttle. Over the years, she has personally taught over 1,500 wildlife biologists, land managers, and students of conservation in the course of presenting over 100 field workshops. She currently oversees all training and instruction at BCI's Arizona, California, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania locations. She continues to be involved with many aspects of BCI's workshop program and its growth as a contract employee, a position she has held from September 2002 to the present. She has also contracted with other federal and state agencies, including the USDA Forest Service, USDI National Park Service and the Department of Defense to conduct custom training workshops for directors, staff, seasonal employees, and volunteers.

John Chenger, president of Bat Conservation and Management, Inc. (BCM), has worked with the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) to conduct cave and mine assessments and other bat inventories. He has also worked with BCI since 1997 to facilitate training workshops in Arizona, California, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. He founded BCM in 1999 to address nuisance bat management issues by providing man-made roosts and performing bat-exclusion and bat- proofing services. His company has grown to include seasonal bat roost and habitat surveys, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USF&WS) endangered species compliance inventories, acoustic monitoring studies, and large-scale migratory bat radio-tracking projects. His work has led him to develop and manufacture commercially available survey gear including mist net poles, portable triple-high mist-net sets, harp traps, and bat houses certified by BCI.

Lectures and demonstrations cover a full range of bat echolocation and acoustic monitoring subjects, with a focus on the use of SonoBat software for designing inventory and monitoring programs for bats. Topics will include:

• Introduction to bat bio-acoustics, echolocation, and bat detectors
• Hands on demonstration with available bat detector models
• Bat detector use in the field for active and passive monitoring
• Bat monitoring program designs and choosing the right bat detector for the job
• Introduction to SonoBat software for recording and signal analysis
• Call characteristics for bat identification on the basis of echolocation calls
• Auto-classification using SonoBat 3.0, data handling, storage, and interpretation

Evening Field Practicals
Instructors will provide guided, hands-on demonstrations during evening and night-time field practicals. Participants will be split up into small groups for added opportunity for individual instruction. Topics will include:

• Active monitoring using bat detectors, tips for following bats
• Key morphological characteristics to help identify bats “on the wing”
• Passive setups using bat detectors and digital audio recorders (e.g., Pettersson D240x and Samson Zoom)
• Passive deployment of direct recording detectors (e.g., AR125, Pettersson D500x, SM2)
• Implementing mobile acoustic transects
• Addressing power, security, and weatherproofing for long-term, passive deployments


SonoBat Field Techniques Workshop

Location and Directions: Roy Drachman-Agua Caliente Regional Park, 12325 East Roger Road, Tucson, AZ 85749

Please see the orientation map of Tucson and the park here.

More detailed directions and maps are at: http://www.pima.gov/nrpr/eeduc/interpretive/aguacal.htm.

Dates and times: April 15 (Friday) thru April 18 (Monday). Check in starts at noon at the Agua Caliente Visitor Center. The first classroom session begins at 1 PM . Formal presentations will conclude by noon April 18.

Off-site Lodging:
Lodging Resources 2-1/2 to 5 miles (10 minutes) from workshop location; +/- $80 per nite:

Comfort Suites at Sabino Canyon Tucson
7007 E. Tanque Verde. (800) 424-6423

Ramada Foothills Inn and Suites
6944 E. Tanque Verde Rd. (520) 886-9595

Nearby Campgrounds
Molino Basin, Mt. Lemmon (Catalina Highway)
Saguaro National Park, East (back-country camping only)

Equipment: Participants need to bring appropriate field gear, including hiking boots, a headlamp with batteries, a personal pack, and a water bottle.
No prior experience with bat detectors or acoustic monitoring is required. Staff will provide several models of time-expansion and direct recording bat detectors, digital audio recorders, and demo copies of SonoBat 2.9 and 3.0 software for participant use during the course. Because we will not be handling bats during this course, rabies pre-exposure vaccination is not required. A complete list of what to bring and how to prepare for the course will be mailed to all registered participants prior to the start of the workshop. Participants should be prepared to bring the following to enhance their workshop experience:

• Laptop (Windows XP, Vista, or 7; or Intel Mac OSX) with associated battery pack and/or power cables
• Journal or binder for note-taking and storing handouts
• Headlamp and other appropriate nighttime field gear
• Memory stick 2GB or larger
• (Optional) folding table and chair for nighttime recording sessions

Meals: Picnic dinners onsite on the 15th, 16th, and 17th are included with the registration fee. Please indicate below if you require vegetarian meals. All other meals are "on your own". Numerous restaurant lunch options are located nearby for the afternoon break.

Fee: $789.00

SonoBat Field Techniques Workshop Goals

The first day has two main goals:

1. To bring everyone up to speed on the physics of sound, how bats use different call types to collect information about their surroundings, and what this means to our eventual goal of identifying bats to species based on cues we collect from echolocation calls.

2. To get everyone comfortable with the use and applications of HET, TE, and DR detectors in the field to do ACTIVE monitoring that night.

The second day has five goals:

1. A review of the pros, cons, and applications of HET, FD, TE, and DR detectors to collect and interpret bat echolocation calls and what this means for acoustic inventory study design.

2. A discussion of active vs. passive monitoring and how these techniques figure into an acoustic survey.

3. Addressing bat echolocation call characteristics and what is known about using these for making species ID determinations, caveats, and confusing species.

4. A review of (or introduction to) basic SonoBat 2.9 use.

5. Assisting participants with setting up TE and DR detectors and recorders to perform PASSIVE monitoring activities.

The third day has three goals:

1. Explaining the importance of call libraries, understanding species-specific echolocation call repertoires, and the need for experience with active monitoring, call collections from known species, and time in the field with the bats and the detectors BEFORE trying to manually (or automatically) identify unknown bat calls to species.

2. Assisting participants with the different workflows for off-loading collected calls collected with different passive recording methods, before using SonoBat 2.9 to organize, group and analyze calls.

3. Introducing students to SonoBat 3.0, basic operations, and what the output means for rendering species ID decisions (i.e., dispelling the quickly emerging myth and explaining carefully that calls identified with a DP of 0.95 DOES NOT mean that there's a 95% chance that the recording was from the species indicated).

The fourth day has two main goals:

1. Give participants more time to use SonoBat 3.0 and understand how to interpret the output by running passively collected calls thru the classifier so they can become comfortable with the workflow and with understanding the powers and limitations of the results.

2. Emphasizing responsible use of auto-classification tools for acoustic surveys and answering any lingering questions students have with the detectors, recorders, software, and/or analysis.