Bat Release 2022 will be live-streamed virtually on Tuesday, May 10th!
So we hate to spring this on you, but... TONIGHT WILL BE BAT RELEASE 2022! This will be a VIRTUAL RELEASE so if you can, tune-in to Facebook Live (@nebraskawildlife) TONIGHT, Tuesday, May 10, 2022 starting around 7:15 PM (cross your fingers for no technology fails)! We know this is last minute and we apologize, but it's getting very late in the season and for their health and safety, the bats need to fly free! Between high winds and rain, the weather hasn't been cooperating, so we need to take advantage of this window of weather-perfection TODAY!
Our director, Laura, will make a few comments on the bats and bat release AND take your questions before and during the release. We are going to miss you all in-person this year, but we hope you can join us online tonight. NEXT YEAR, we will return to an in-person event! Hope to see you soon! #batsoveromaha2022
What It Is (in a non-virtual year)
Each spring, NWR releases over 450 bats back into the wild, after taking care of them all winter. These bats are mostly big brown bats, but don't let the name fool you! An adult big brown bat weighs less than 1 ounce!
We have traditionally released our bats at the Joslyn Art Museum at 24th and Dodge in Omaha; however, starting in 2023, we will be at a new in-person venue in Omaha. In 2023, we will again invite the public to join us. There will be activities for children, educational tables, and roving bats to keep the crowd entertained. The public is invited to come as early as 6PM to stake out a spot on the lawn and enjoy a picnic dinner. Bat release takes place at dusk and is generally wrapped up about 45 minutes after it begins. Please leave your dogs and other pets at home for this event, for the safety of any bats that may accidentally end up on the ground.
When to Expect the Release
Bat release can happen any time between the end of March and the beginning of May. We release the bats on the earliest possible date, taking into consideration current conditions, weather forecast, and insect populations. Because this is all about the bats - the release happens when it works for them. We will notify the public 48-72 hours prior to the release, and hope that you can join us!
How to Be Notified of Release Time
Follow us on Facebook or Twitter or join our E-Mail List to be notified when we set a release date!
Why Do We Do It?
We receive hundreds of bats during the winter months when they should be hibernating. Most come from inside buildings where they have set-up winter roosts. All of the bats in Nebraska eat insects. When they are found in buildings in the winter, they must come into rehab, regardless of whether they are injured or not. This is because it is too cold outside for them and there is nothing for them to eat in the winter.
Our rehabilitators treat any injuries and feed the bats until they are of an appropriate hibernating weight. They are then placed in artificial “hibernacula” where the temperature and humidity are closely monitored so they can sleep the rest of the winter away.
In the spring, once there are abundant insects and the free bats are flying, we start looking for a good stretch of weather to let our bats free again. We watch for appropriate temperatures, wind speed, and the threat of rain to decide when we are going to release our bats. Once we set a date, we notify the public that bat release is on!
Bats are extremely critical to our natural enviroment and each individual is important to bat populations in Nebraska. We thank you for caring about bats as much as we do!
Where Do The Bats Go When They're Released?
We have traditionally released our bats at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha each year. This is a fabulous venue for several reasons — First, it allows you to come out and see the release and to learn more about bats. Second, it is close to home for many of the bats. Most of our bats come from eastern Omaha and there is good evidence to support that the bats "go home" when released. This means that when we release downtown, we're giving most of the bats the shortest trip home. If you live in the neighborhood, don't worry — the bats aren't going to make a new roost in your house if you don't have bats there already. They are going to go back to their home roost as soon as they can.