03 May 2022
Monitoring wildlife opens up windows of understanding. In some cases, it allows us to peek inside the mysterious life of rather cryptic species. One such species is the White-striped Fee-tailed Bat (Austronomus australis). These little creatures, only weighing an average of 37 grams (equivalent to two and half teaspoons of sugar), have big stories to tell.
The Park is fortunate to have a maternity roost of this species in the wall cavity of a heritage building in Newington Armory. Maternity roosts are where female bats gather together to have their babies; babies that weigh almost 30% of their mother’s body weight! This maternity roost at Sydney Olympic Park has been monitored since its discovery in 2005 in partnership with Marg Turton, a bat specialist, through an annual microchipping (tagging) program to allow all-year-round recording of tagged individuals entering and leaving the roost.
Over seventeen years, there are many stories to tell, and some special characters include:
Bat # 13 is a male that was first tagged in 2008 and
|Bat #23 is a female that is at least 10 years old and
still showing signs of post lactation, indicating a long reproductive life. © Marg Turton
|Bat #103 is a female recently tagged in 2022… and
the start of a new story. © Lachlan Hall