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Flip Your Telephone right into a Bat Detector with the Echo Meter Contact 2

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 Do you know that the bats flying above you at nightfall are shouting as loud as a hearth alarm in your ear however you possibly can’t hear them? That’s as a result of they’re calling in frequencies which can be too excessive in your ears to detect. However now, with an unbelievable little bat detector that plugs into your cellphone, together with a bat detector app, you possibly can hear bat echolocations in actual time, document them, and determine the species! It’s time to get a brand new tremendous energy. Meet the Echo Meter Contact 2 bat detector.

Bat detector: Echo Meter Contact 2 by Wildlife Acoustics

Bats have an unbelievable talent. They will use sonar to navigate at the hours of darkness and to catch tiny bugs on the wing. They do that by “shouting” brief chirps or clicks into the air and processing the echoes as they bounce again into their ears, often called echolocation. These sounds happen at a pitch that’s larger than people can hear so we confer with it as “ultrasonic”.  However with an ultrasonic microphone and bat recorder, scientists can document and analyze the echolocation calls of various bat species, then be taught to determine them by their name.

epaulettes fruit bat

Not all bat species use echolocation. Fuit bats like this epauletted fruit bat in Botswana typically don’t.

Video Evaluation of the Echo Meter Contact 2

Check out our video evaluate of the Echo Meter Contact 2 bat detector to see the way it works!


What’s the greatest bat detector?

After many days of analysis and questioning what could be the perfect bat detector for me, I got here throughout a extremely cool bat detector equipment that features each an ultrasonic microphone and a bat detector app for my cellphone. So I received one for myself and examined it for a pair months. Now I’m satisfied that the Wildlife Acoustics  Echo Meter Contact 2 is the perfect bat detector available on the market for each wildlife fanatics and for hand-held scientific subject analysis. In a nutshell, it’s essentially the most compact, highly effective, easy-to-use, and reasonably priced choice on the market.

echo meter touch 2 bat detector

The Echo Meter Contact 2 bat detector by Wildlife Acoustics is compact, highly effective, and reasonably priced.

Should you’re a daily individual like me who desires to listen to bat echolocation calls and be taught what species are in your yard, then that is, certainly, the coolest wildlife gadget you’ll ever personal. With a price ticket of solely $179 it’s properly throughout the worth vary of most yard wildlife fanatics. However don’t let a budget price ticket idiot you. This little gizmo is full of refined know-how and makes use of superior scientific identification software program to let you recognize who you’re listening to. I believe it’s a good worth to pay for an excellent energy.

batman with bat detector

“The place does he get these great toys?” You don’t need to be an excellent hero to get ultrasonic listening to.

And the perfect characteristic in my view: it’s tiny. Cristina and I journey regularly to search for wildlife. This little man sits snuggly in my pocket in a cute little pouch and is prepared for motion as quickly because the solar units.

ultrasonic microphone

The ultrasonic microphone is tiny and has its personal padded carrying pouch.

Is there a bat detector app?

Yep. Wildlife Acoustics has created their free bat detector app for each iOS and Android gadgets that works at the side of their Echo Meter Contact 2 (or Contact 2 Professional) ultrasonic microphone. Nope, the apps can’t detect bat sounds with out the ultrasonic microphone module connected, however you possibly can import and replay recordings from different gadgets with out it.

bat detector app

Utilizing the bat detector app on an Android cellphone

This bat detector app is full of superb options, however you don’t need to be an knowledgeable to make use of it. I used to be up and operating in seconds, listening to bats, recording them, and figuring out them with out, I admit, ever studying the guide. Fortunately they’ve a wonderful assortment of tutorial movies and also you solely have to look at the short begin video to do most the whole lot you’d ever wish to do.

You too can obtain a free model of their Kaleidoscope evaluation software program and apply it to your desktop or laptop computer (Mac, PC, or Linux) to view the spectrograms and hearken to recordings of bats and different animals like birds and frogs. 

iPhone bat detector vs bat detector for Android

Are you dreaming of an iPhone bat detector or maybe an iPad bat detector? Then you definitely higher hurry.

Based on a latest e mail, Apple has discontinued the lightning connector that Wildlife Acoustics makes use of to attach the Echo Meter Contact to Apple gadgets. They’ve already bought out the Echo Meter Contact 2 for iOS and count on to promote out of the Echo Meter Contact 2 Professional for iOS by the top of 2022. Hopefully they may discover a new resolution quickly to proceed offering an iPhone bat detector choice. Within the meantime the bat detector for Android remains to be accessible. Nonetheless, I did simply discover that the Android EMT 2 was “bought out for the season” whereas EMT2 Professional was nonetheless in inventory at $349. 

iPhone bat detector or Android

Accessible as both an iPhone bat detector or Android bat detector! (Android pictured right here.)

My private experiences utilizing the Echo Meter Contact 2 bat detector

I obtained the Echo Meter bat detector in late December. Oh wait, that’s not precisely true. I received it for Cristina for her birthday. However I’d quickly hijack her reward and use it obsessively virtually each night time.

(Full disclosure: I used to be given this bat detector in trade for a evaluate however all the opinions on this article are completely my very own. Yep, I received Cristina’s birthday current totally free after which largely used it myself. Am I low-cost or what?)

Who’s hibernating in our Bat Home?

About 7 years in the past I constructed a bat home and connected it to the facet of our home. But it surely wasn’t till this winter that we began listening to humorous little chirps and twitterings popping out of it. Upon nearer examination we realized we lastly had bats!

We constructed our bat home, however you don’t need to! You will get your bat home right here

bat house

Our bat home lastly had bats!

In our area (North Carolina mountains in the US) bats hibernate within the winter as a result of there are few bugs round. However on heat days they could ‘get up’ for brief durations and have become chatty with their neighbors. These social sounds are largely throughout the vary of human listening to. That’s what we might hear coming from the bat home.

I managed to get some images of them with each my cellphone and a DSLR digicam by fastidiously pointing them up by means of the underside opening of the bat home. We had at the very least three and presumably 4 in there! However I had little confidence in my bat identification expertise so I had no concept who our new buddies had been.  That’s after we began looking for a bat detector.

big brown bats in bat house

A primary have a look at the bats in our bat home. However who’re they?

The issue is {that a} bat recorder just like the Echo Meter Contact 2 identifies species utilizing ultrasonic echolocation calls which can be made whereas flying and searching. And ours wouldn’t be flying for months till the bugs returned. So we needed to wait till the times received hotter earlier than we might strive it out.

When spring arrives, the bats begin flying

In early April, when sundown temperatures had been climbing steadily above 60 levels, I began parking myself in a chair close to the bat home whereas the solar went down. I positioned the ultrasonic microphone module within the cost port of my cellphone (I take advantage of a fairly run-of-the-mill Android mannequin) and began the app.

As a result of my cost port is on the underside of my cellphone, I needed to flip my cellphone over to level the microphone towards the bat home. Since apps can’t flip upside-down on my cellphone, I needed to view the display sideways as a way to watch the colour spectrogram rolling by. I chosen North Carolina from the Auto ID Choice menu so it will solely select species prone to be in my space, and I selected the RTE setting for audio (Actual Time Enlargement) so I might hearken to the pulses in actual time.  Then I  turned up the amount on my cellphone and listened.

bat detector kit

A reenactment of utilizing my bat detector equipment to determine the bats in my bat home

The spring peepers had been calling loudly from our pond, however listening to their excessive pitched calls by means of the app got here out solely as very low thuds. Then, quarter-hour after the official time of sundown, I heard it. Not with my ears however by means of the cellphone.

A sequence of sharp, descending chirps, repeated in clusters. Somebody was getting ready to exit the field! I hit the guide recording button (which begins recording 5 seconds previously so that you don’t miss something) and seemed up. The chirps turned louder and quicker after which, proper earlier than my eyes, a bat descended from the field and swooped up over my head into the gloomy nightfall. Woo hoo! 

To my ears the bat had been completely silent, however by means of the app I might inform she was echolocating like loopy as she left the home and, in actuality, was shouting fairly loudly! I used to be thrilled and smiling from ear to ear.

The second I had been ready for: my bat identification

I hit cease on the recording and a second later a field popped up on the display. It was the second I had been ready for, the most certainly match for the species I had simply recorded. “Huge brown bat” it mentioned. Eptesicus fuscus.

bat app identification

The app recognized my bat as a Huge Brown Bat!

Once I tapped the data button, a portrait of the creature stuffed my display. She had shaggy reddish brown fur coming down a deep brow to an otter-like nostril and a large smile. Giant black ears protruded above her twinkling eyes. There you might be, my little pal. Good to satisfy you!

big brown bat portrait

The data button leads you to an attractive portrait of the species and the wikipedia web page.

One other tab took me to the wikipedia web page for the species. There I discovered that the large brown bat, because the identify implies, is fairly massive for a microbat, with a wingspan of greater than 12 inches! I additionally discovered that the large brown bat fortunately seems to be considerably immune to the consequences of the devastating white-nose syndrome that’s wiping out bat populations throughout the US.

For a lot of nights I recorded the bats leaving their bat home. Each time I obtained the identical ID so I felt fairly assured within the accuracy of the identification. (See later part: How correct are bat identifications?). But it surely was the one species I might discover close to my home. I needed to strive it out in different areas and begin constructing my species checklist!

Detecting bats throughout the US

First we took a fast jaunt to Cedar Key in Florida, the place I attempted it out on the quiet roads close to the Faraway Inn. At sundown we instantly began recognizing bats and my bat recorder recognized them as night bats! (Nycticeius humeralis). I might see how completely different the pulses had been from my native massive brown bats by learning the shapes on the spectrogram.  

In early Could once I had lastly accomplished my Covid vaccination pictures my mother and I did a cross-country street journey from NC to California and again for my nephew’s marriage ceremony. I attempted it at Juniper Campground in Bandelier Nationwide Monument in New Mexico. The primary two identifications gave me northern long-eared myotis (Myotis septentrionalis) and my subsequent seven got here up as western small-footed bats (Myotis ciliolabrum)  so both I had two species flying by means of or, extra probably, the primary 2 recordings had been mis-identifications.

bat recorder

Me making an attempt to look as dorky as potential strolling round with my bat recorder and headlamp in New Mexico with my mother.

In Barstow, California I picked up western pipistrelle (Parastrellus hesperus) from a Tremendous 8 car parking zone.  Cool!

In late Could we made a run to Tennessee to see the glow worm caves in Pickett State Park. Whereas staying in one of many lovable stone cabins constructed by the CCC, I detected a silver-haired bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans) flying close by.

After which in early June on a fast journey to Raleigh, NC I had a mysterious clump of 5 completely different identifications in a single 10-minute interval. Right here is my checklist of ID’s adopted by the accuracy ranking (Appropriate Classification Price) for every species in line with the Classifier Efficiency Desk.

  • 1 Mexican Free-tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) 52% accuracy
  • 1 Silver-haired Bat (Lasionycteris noctivagans) 69% accuracy
  • 1 Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus) 53% accuracy
  • 1 Northern Yellow Bat (Lasiurus intermedius) 50% accuracy
  • 3 Seminole Bat (Lasiurus seminolus) 28% accuracy

Primarily based on the accuracy charges, I concluded that it was merely my first expertise with a species that was tough to determine. Looking back I ought to have turned the Auto ID Sensitivity setting from Delicate to Correct and may need had higher luck getting the suitable ID. (See the part How correct are the bat identifications? under) 

bat recorder gps view

The GPS view of all my bat recordings to date

How a bat detector can inform what sort of bat is flying?

There are greater than 1,400 species of bats on the planet with greater than 40 right here in the US. So how can a bat detector inform what sort of bat is flying overhead? By way of a mixture of stable scientific analysis, a number of ultrasonic recordings of bat echolocations, and a few excessive tech digital evaluation. Utilizing complicated, proprietary algorithms, Wildlife Acoustics researchers create “classifiers” to match the most certainly species to a recording of a bat’s echolocation pulses.

Mexican free-tailed bats flying

Lots of of hundreds of Mexican free-tailed bats swarm out of Carlsbad Caverns, NM on a summer time night time.

Wildlife Acoustics is an enormous identify on the planet of wildlife audio analysis and so they’ve constructed among the most superior wildlife sound identification software program accessible. One in every of Wildlife Acoustics software program merchandise is known as Kaleidoscope Professional Bat Auto ID. They’ve developed classifiers for 38 bat species in North America, which covers virtually each species you’re prone to hear. However they’re additionally continuously including to their checklist of classifiers for different areas of the world. On the time of writing they created classifiers for 37 species within the UK & Europe, 37 Neotropical species, and 21 in South Africa. You possibly can see a whole checklist of species right here.

However the perfect information is that the Echo Meter Contact 2 makes use of the very same database of classifiers in its free app. Although the web site says new classifiers might lag a pair weeks behind the Kaleidoscope software program so make sure to hold your app up to date.

My favourite flying bat photograph I’ve ever taken (under) is of a Jamaican fruit-eating bat (Artibeus jamaicensis) which is among the solely fruit-eating bats that happen in the US (discovered solely within the Florida Keys). However sarcastically, it is usually one of many solely species that Kaleidoscope doesn’t but have a classifier for within the North American checklist. Though it’s a fruit eater, it nonetheless makes use of echolocation. Beforehand considered a “whispering bat” it has since been confirmed that their echolocations are extraordinarily loud! I photographed this one beneath a Maya break in Tikal, Guatemala.

jamaican fruit eating bat

Whereas the Jamaican fruit consuming bat could be discovered within the Florida keys, you gained’t but discover a classifier for it within the Echo Meter Contact 2 app

We’re excited to strive our bat detector in South Africa as a result of we journey there typically. Within the photograph under you possibly can see a bat flying over Cristina’s head in a chalet in Twee Rivieren within the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa. Subsequent time we’ll determine what species they’re!

South Africa bats

A bat flying over Cristina’s head in a cottage in South Africa

How correct are the bat identifications?

So simply how correct are the identifications given by this bat detector equipment? The brief reply is you get an correct ID about 80% of the time. However the extra full reply is that it is dependent upon two elements: the species and the Auto ID Sensitivity setting you utilize throughout recording. 

Should you set it to “Delicate” you then’ll get extra identifications however they’ll be much less prone to be correct. Conversely, in case you use the “Correct” setting you’ll get fewer ID’s however you’ll have a a lot larger accuracy charge. If you would like one thing in between you possibly can select “Balanced”.

bat recorder app

You possibly can change the auto ID sensitivity within the superior settings.

Let’s use North America for instance. Primarily based on the latest Classifier Efficiency Desk we will see that utilizing the “Delicate” setting  you’ll obtain an correct ID about 70% of the time on common. Nonetheless, some species are likely to get confused extra simply, whereas others have extra distinct echolocation calls. You’ll get an correct ID about 97% of the time if it’s a Noticed Bat (Euderma maculatum) and solely 31% of the time if it’s a Cave Myotis (Myotis velifer).

Should you use the “Correct” setting on the app, you’ll find yourself with fewer recordings getting an ID, however they’re extra prone to be correct while you do. Now you’ll have a median 82% success ratio of right ID’s, with a number of species reaching 100% accuracy.

bat classifiers

The bat classifiers efficiency spreadsheet is useful for deciding how correct your id could be

Remember that the identification software program gained’t work as properly in cluttered areas (like forests) or when a number of bats are flying overhead. You’ll get essentially the most correct ID outcomes from a single bat flying over in a extra open area.

Different cool issues you are able to do with the Echo Meter Contact 2 Bat Recorder

Auto Recording

You possibly can merely hit the document button and Echo Meter Contact 2 will robotically document at any time when a bat echolocation is detected! You possibly can select parameters for recordings to fit your wants.

Share recordsdata

It’s actually easy to export .wav recordsdata to your pc or share them with others. You possibly can e mail them, textual content them, airdrop them, and many others. or switch them to your desktop through wifi. You possibly can set up the free Kaleidoscope Lite evaluation software in your pc to view and analyze your transferred recordings!

echo meter touch 2

It’s straightforward to share bat recording recordsdata by e mail or textual content, or ship to your pc with wifi.

GPS view

In case your cellphone or pill is GPS enabled, the Echo Meter Contact 2 data GPS information for every recording and embeds it within the metadata for that file. Within the app you possibly can have a look at a GPS view to see the place all of your recordings had been made and observe the trail you used between recordings!

gps view of bat recordings

The GPS view of bat recordings I’ve made round my home.

Label recordings  with textual content and voice notes

It’s straightforward so as to add a be aware to a recording by typing it or just recording your voice. I take advantage of it so as to add data about the place I recorded it like “Tremendous 8, Barstow, CA”.

Select completely different listening modes

I favor to make use of the RTE (actual time growth) mode when listening to bats. This principally interprets the sounds into the human vary of listening to in actual time. You too can select HET (heterodyne) which is a extra old-school approach of listening to bat echolocations and I’ve no clue easy methods to clarify it, however it simply type of feels like clicks.

Lastly, while you’re taking part in again saved recordings, you need to use TE (time growth) which could be the coolest one among all. It principally slows down the recording to one-tenth pace or one-twentieth pace (your alternative) which brings it down into the human vary of listening to. This manner you possibly can actually hear the nuances of every pulse, the variations in pitch and pace, and it has an other-worldly haunting sound, kind of just like the recordings of whale songs!

And because you made it by means of that boring part, right here’s a cool image of a bat crossing signal from Calakmul in Mexico! (from my animal crossing indicators assortment.)

Bat crossing check in Calakmul, Mexico

What else are you able to hear with a bat detector?

Simply final night time I began noticing ultrasonic cricket calls displaying up on my spectrogram. It was actually enjoyable to play again the recording with time growth set to 1/tenth pace. Then I might really hear each single chirp within the steady “stridulation” of a cricket.

I additionally seen on the Wildlife Acoustics FAQ web page that the Echo Meter Contact 2 can be utilized to document ultrasonic mice vocalizations! However you’ll have to regulate just a few settings to apply it to species aside from bats.

If you wish to document fowl and frog calls then take a look at the Tune Meter Micro. It’s a standalone unit used to document wildlife calls after which you possibly can view and analyze them with the Kaleidoscope software program and even create your individual classifiers!

In conclusion…

Now each night time at sundown I discover myself pondering “Ooh! It’s bat time!” and I wish to get out and hearken to our furry flying buddies. Bats carry out a vital position in our ecosystems, pollinating vegetation & controlling insect populations. It’s extra vital than ever for people to attach with bats on a private degree, as white-nose syndrome is wiping out populations throughout North America. Get to know your flying neighbors, be taught what they should survive and attempt to present it for them. And collectively we will help these great animals once they want it most.

Take a look at the Echo Meter Contact 2 for Android and the Echo Meter Contact 2 Professional for iOS.

tent making bat

Tent-making bats in Costa Rica

(P.S. Right here’s a video we fabricated from easy methods to discover tent-making bats in Costa Rica!)




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