They’re fascinating… and their fangs are so cute.

Kaitlyn Parkins, a conservation biologist at NYC Audubon, will present Nocturnal Neighbors: The Bats of New York City at the Alley Pond Environmental Center in Douglaston on Wednesday, Nov. 20, at 8 p.m.

An ecologist with a keen interest in the effects of human activities on wildlife, Parkins has conducted several years of research on this topic. She will inform on the secret lives of bats in the Big Apple, including those that live here year-round and those that make annual visits during migrations. Attendees will learn what species are here, what they do for a living and where to see them.

She’ll also present scientific findings, including how bats use green roofs as foraging habitats, and she’ll discuss the threats to local bat populations along with some of the work being done to mitigate these perils. Expect a Q&A session at the end.

The lecture is presented by the Queens County Bird Club, and attendance is free. Light refreshments will be served, and donations will be encouraged.

With their echolocation skills and nocturnal lifestyle, they’re pretty cool members of the Animal Kingdom. But bats also play vital roles in many ecosystems around the world. Humans appreciate that they help control pests by eating insects. Plants need them to pollinate their flowers and spread their seeds. (In fact, some plants depend entirely on these flying vertebrates for survival.) Then there’s their manure or “guano,” which is a tremendous fertilizer, especially in caves where there are few nutrients. And on the other side, bats are high-protein food for such birds of prey as falcons, hawks, and owls.

Parkins, who grew up in Maryland, has a master’s degree in ecology from Fordham University with a thesis on urban bats. She has studied everything from plants to butterflies to bird nests with field work on bird-building collisions, beach-nesting shorebirds and colonial waterbirds.

The Alley Pond Environmental Center is located at 228-06 Northern Blvd. It’s difficult to get there via public transportation, but there is free on-site parking.

Images: Queens County Bird Club (top); NYC Audubon (below)


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