Powered flight evolved independently in three
groups of vertebrates. Unfortunately,
the flying reptiles (Pterosaurs) are extinct.
Of the two living groups of flying vertebrates, birds are much better
known than bats. Birds are colorful,
abundant, active in daytime, sing what we perceive of as pretty songs, and rank
high in the popular perceptions of most people.
Bats, in contrast, inhabit the night, their songs are mostly beyond our
hearing and, while they also are abundant, “bat watching” is not a common pastime.
As a rule, bats do not share the “good press” enjoyed by birds. So, what are bats doing up there? How are they doing it? Why should we
care? This talk will address these
questions with some of the latest information on the amazing and unique
abilities of our flying mammals.