Many sounds produced by bats when not commuting or foraging are often lower in frequency than the species' echolocation calls. These are assumed to be for communication, and are often grouped together and referred to as 'social calls' although the purpose of many of these are not known. Clearly understanding these calls has the potential to improve our ability to identify species for species where the echolocation is similar, and to assist in interpreting behaviour (e.g. territorial behaviour of males during the mating season). This book is the first attempt to pull together and summarise the current knowledge of social calls of bats occurring within Britain and Ireland. This is a complex area of study, where there is still much to learn. However this book and downloadable call library does a really good job in highlighting the potential for social calls for understanding bats, and for making this information available to all. I know from my own work on bats in Norfolk, I have largely focused on echolocation calls, with another ground-breaking book published by Pelagic Publishing by Jon Russ on British Bat Calls: A Guide to Species Identification being my core reference. This new book on social calls is a perfect companion to this, and one which has already inspired me to look back at the recordings I have been getting this season. -- Stuart Newson BTO News
About the Author
Neil Middleton is a licensed bat worker and trainer, with 20 years experience, having carried out most of his bat related work within the UK and Europe (Ireland, Cyprus, France, Spain and Hungary). He is the managing director of Echoes Ecology Ltd (www.echoesecology.co.uk), an ecological consultancy he established in Scotland during 2006. Neil has been involved with many bat related projects to date, including the Bats & The Millennium Link (BaTML) project which he set up to study the use of canal corridors by bats in Scotland (www.batml.org.uk). Neil is an accomplished trainer across a wide range of bat related subjects, having developed and delivered well over a 100 events to date. Neil first came across his co-authors, Andrew and Keith, whilst they all attended a bat course in Somerset during 2004, an event that not only inspired all three of them, but also was the beginning of a long friendship as they explored many bat related subjects together, including the material for this book.
Andrew Froud is an 'Ecologist' working for the City of London, within Epping Forest (Essex). He is a licensed bat worker with over 10 years experience. In 2006, together with Keith French, he set up a 6 year research project, within a small part of Epping Forest, to examine habitat usage by bats in conjunction with the impact of habitat changes brought on by the sites Conservation Management Plan. Andrew's initial interest in social calls came about when he and Keith discovered the first known lekking Nathusius' pipistrelle roosts for Essex on their site. Since then, he has been fascinated by the subject, and recorded many social calls across a wide range of species. In recent years Andrew has delivered presentations on this subject to course delegates, local bat groups and natural history groups.
Keith French has over 10 years' experience with bat related work, and is a licensed bat worker, both living and working within Epping Forest (Essex), where he is employed by the City of London as 'Head Forest Keeper'. Having a driven associate like Andrew Froud has helped fuel his enthusiasm to delve deeper into this complex and relatively un-researched subject. After recording their first Nathusius' pipistrelle lekking in an ancient oak pollard, the search was on to record social calls from other species, especially Noctule and Myotis. Keith has also been keen to pass on the knowledge he has gained by giving guided walks, presentations and allowing volunteers the chance to improve their skills. He is well travelled, having been fortunate enough to observe and record bats in some exotic locations such as the Amazon, Croatia, Costa Rica, USA and several African countries.