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

*This text could include affiliate hyperlinks. We obtain a small fee at no further price to you. In the event you get pleasure from our content material and wish to help Journey For Wildlife, please go to our store Actually Wild. Do you know that the bats flying above you at nightfall are shouting as loud as a hearth alarm in your ear however you may’t hear them? That’s as a result of they’re calling in frequencies which are too excessive in your ears to detect. However now, with an unimaginable little bat detector that plugs into your cellphone, together with a bat detector app, you may hear bat echolocations in actual time, file them, and establish 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 unimaginable talent. They’ll use sonar to navigate at nighttime and to catch tiny bugs on the wing. They do that by “shouting” quick chirps or clicks into the air and processing the echoes as they bounce again into their ears, referred to as echolocation. These sounds happen at a pitch that’s greater than people can hear so we consult with it as “ultrasonic”.  However with an ultrasonic microphone and bat recorder, scientists can file and analyze the echolocation calls of various bat species, then study to establish them by their name.
Not all bat species use echolocation. Fuit bats like this epauletted fruit bat in Botswana usually don’t.
Video Evaluation of the Echo Meter Contact 2
Check out our video overview 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 one of the best bat detector for me, I got here throughout a very cool bat detector package that features each an ultrasonic microphone and a bat detector app for my cellphone. So I obtained one for myself and examined it for a pair months. Now I’m satisfied that the Wildlife Acoustics  Echo Meter Contact 2 is one of the best bat detector available on the market for each wildlife fanatics and for hand-held scientific area analysis. In a nutshell, it’s essentially the most compact, highly effective, easy-to-use, and inexpensive possibility on the market.
The Echo Meter Contact 2 bat detector by Wildlife Acoustics is compact, highly effective, and inexpensive.
In the event you’re an everyday individual like me who needs to listen to bat echolocation calls and study what species are in your yard, then that is, for sure, the best wildlife gadget you’ll ever personal. With a price ticket of solely $179 it’s nicely inside 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 expertise and makes use of superior scientific identification software program to let you realize who you’re listening to. I believe it’s a good worth to pay for an excellent energy.
“The place does he get these fantastic toys?” You don’t must be an excellent hero to get ultrasonic listening to.
And one of the best function for my part: it’s tiny. Cristina and I journey incessantly 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.
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 units 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 may import and replay recordings from different units with out it.
Utilizing the bat detector app on an Android cellphone
This bat detector app is full of wonderful options, however you don’t must be an professional 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 handbook. Fortunately they’ve a superb assortment of educational movies and also you solely have to look at the short begin video to do most all the pieces you’d ever wish to do.
You can even 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? You then higher hurry.
In keeping with a current electronic mail, Apple has discontinued the lightning connector that Wildlife Acoustics makes use of to attach the Echo Meter Contact to Apple units. They’ve already bought out the Echo Meter Contact 2 for iOS and anticipate to promote out of the Echo Meter Contact 2 Professional for iOS by the tip of 2022. Hopefully they’ll discover a new resolution quickly to proceed offering an iPhone bat detector possibility. Within the meantime the bat detector for Android remains to be out there. Nevertheless, I did simply discover that the Android EMT 2 was “bought out for the season” whereas EMT2 Professional was nonetheless in inventory at $349. 
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 acquired the Echo Meter bat detector in late December. Oh wait, that’s not precisely true. I obtained it for Cristina for her birthday. However I might quickly hijack her reward and use it obsessively nearly each night time.
(Full disclosure: I used to be given this bat detector in change for a overview however all the opinions on this article are fully my very own. Yep, I obtained Cristina’s birthday current without spending a dime after which principally 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 aspect of our home. However it 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!
Our bat home lastly had bats!
In our area (North Carolina mountains in the USA) bats hibernate within the winter as a result of there are few bugs round. However on heat days they might ‘get up’ for brief intervals and have become chatty with their neighbors. These social sounds are principally inside the vary of human listening to. That’s what we might hear coming from the bat home.
I managed to get some pictures of them with each my cellphone and a DSLR digicam by fastidiously pointing them up by the underside opening of the bat home. We had not less than three and probably 4 in there! However I had little confidence in my bat identification abilities so I had no thought who our new mates have been.  That’s once we began trying to find a bat detector.
A primary take 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 are made whereas flying and looking. And ours wouldn’t be flying for months till the bugs returned. So we needed to wait till the times obtained hotter earlier than we might attempt it out.
When spring arrives, the bats begin flying
In early April, when sundown temperatures have 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 exploit 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 screen sideways to be able to watch the colour spectrogram rolling by. I chosen North Carolina from the Auto ID Choice menu so it could 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 quantity on my cellphone and listened.
A reenactment of utilizing my bat detector package to establish the bats in my bat home
The spring peepers have been calling loudly from our pond, however listening to their excessive pitched calls by 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 the cellphone.
A collection of sharp, descending chirps, repeated in clusters. Somebody was getting ready to exit the field! I hit the handbook recording button (which begins recording 5 seconds up to now so that you don’t miss something) and regarded up. The chirps grew to become louder and sooner 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 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 screen. It was the second I had been ready for, the almost definitely match for the species I had simply recorded. “Large brown bat” it stated. Eptesicus fuscus.
The app recognized my bat as a Large Brown Bat!
After I tapped the information button, a portrait of the creature crammed my display screen. 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’re, my little good friend. Good to satisfy you!
The information button leads you to a phenomenal 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 huge 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 USA.
For a lot of nights I recorded the bats leaving their bat home. Each time I acquired the identical ID so I felt fairly assured within the accuracy of the identification. (See later part: How correct are bat identifications?). However it was the one species I might discover close to my home. I needed to attempt it out in different areas and begin constructing my species listing!
Detecting bats throughout the USA
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 totally different the pulses have been from my native huge brown bats by learning the shapes on the spectrogram.  
In early Might once I had lastly accomplished my Covid vaccination pictures my mother and I did a cross-country highway 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 or, extra doubtless, the primary 2 recordings have been mis-identifications.
Me attempting 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 Might 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 totally different identifications in a single 10-minute interval. Right here is my listing of ID’s adopted by the accuracy score (Appropriate Classification Price) for every species based on 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

Based mostly on the accuracy charges, I concluded that it was merely my first expertise with a species that was tough to establish. On reflection 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? beneath) 
The GPS view of all my bat recordings to this point
How a bat detector can inform what kind of bat is flying?
There are greater than 1,400 species of bats on this planet with greater than 40 right here in the USA. So how can a bat detector inform what kind of bat is flying overhead? By a mix of strong scientific analysis, plenty of ultrasonic recordings of bat echolocations, and a few excessive tech digital evaluation. Utilizing advanced, proprietary algorithms, Wildlife Acoustics researchers create “classifiers” to match the almost definitely species to a recording of a bat’s echolocation pulses.
A whole bunch of 1000’s of Mexican free-tailed bats swarm out of Carlsbad Caverns, NM on a summer season night time.
Wildlife Acoustics is an enormous identify on this planet of wildlife audio analysis they usually’ve constructed among the most superior wildlife sound identification software program out there. 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 nearly each species you’re prone to hear. However they’re additionally consistently including to their listing 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 may see a whole listing of species right here.
However one of the best 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 could lag a pair weeks behind the Kaleidoscope software program so make sure you hold your app up to date.
My favourite flying bat picture I’ve ever taken (beneath) is of a Jamaican fruit-eating bat (Artibeus jamaicensis) which is without doubt one of the solely fruit-eating bats that happen in the USA (discovered solely within the Florida Keys). However sarcastically, additionally it is one of many solely species that Kaleidoscope doesn’t but have a classifier for within the North American listing. Although 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 smash in Tikal, Guatemala.
Whereas the Jamaican fruit consuming bat will 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 attempt our bat detector in South Africa as a result of we journey there typically. Within the picture beneath you may 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 establish what species they’re!
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 package? The quick reply is you get an correct ID about 80% of the time. However the extra full reply is that it relies on two elements: the species and the Auto ID Sensitivity setting you utilize throughout recording. 
In the event you set it to “Delicate” then you definitely’ll get extra identifications however they’ll be much less prone to be correct. Conversely, if you happen to use the “Correct” setting you’ll get fewer ID’s however you’ll have a a lot greater accuracy charge. In order for you one thing in between you may select “Balanced”.
You may change the auto ID sensitivity within the superior settings.
Let’s use North America for instance. Based mostly on the newest Classifier Efficiency Desk we are able to see that utilizing the “Delicate” setting  you’ll obtain an correct ID about 70% of the time on common. Nevertheless, 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).
In the event 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 if you do. Now you’ll have a mean 82% success ratio of appropriate ID’s, with a number of species reaching 100% accuracy.
The bat classifiers efficiency spreadsheet is useful for deciding how correct your id is likely to be
Take into account that the identification software program gained’t work as nicely 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 house.
Different cool issues you are able to do with the Echo Meter Contact 2 Bat Recorder
Auto Recording
You may merely hit the file button and Echo Meter Contact 2 will routinely file at any time when a bat echolocation is detected! You may select parameters for recordings to fit your wants.
Share information
It’s actually easy to export .wav information to your laptop or share them with others. You may electronic mail them, textual content them, airdrop them, and many others. or switch them to your desktop through wifi. You may set up the free Kaleidoscope Lite evaluation software program in your laptop to view and analyze your transferred recordings!
It’s straightforward to share bat recording information by electronic mail or textual content, or ship to your laptop with wifi.
GPS view
In case your cellphone or pill is GPS enabled, the Echo Meter Contact 2 information GPS information for every recording and embeds it within the metadata for that file. Within the app you may take a look at a GPS view to see the place all of your recordings have been made and comply with the trail you used between 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 observe to a recording by typing it or just recording your voice. I exploit it so as to add information about the place I recorded it like “Tremendous 8, Barstow, CA”.
Select totally different listening modes
I want 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 can even select HET (heterodyne) which is a extra old-school method of listening to bat echolocations and I’ve no clue the best way to clarify it, but it surely simply form of appears like clicks.
Lastly, if you’re enjoying again saved recordings, you should use TE (time growth) which could be the coolest one in every of 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 may actually hear the nuances of every pulse, the variations in pitch and pace, and it has an other-worldly haunting sound, form of just like the recordings of whale songs!
And because you made it by 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 sign up Calakmul, Mexico
What else are you able to hear with a bat detector?
Simply final night time I began noticing ultrasonic cricket calls exhibiting up on my spectrogram. It was actually enjoyable to play again the recording with time growth set to 1/tenth pace. Then I might truly hear each single chirp within the steady “stridulation” of a cricket.
I additionally observed on the Wildlife Acoustics FAQ web page that the Echo Meter Contact 2 can be utilized to file ultrasonic mice vocalizations! However you’ll have to regulate a couple of settings to apply it to species aside from bats.
If you wish to file hen and frog calls then try the Tune Meter Micro. It’s a standalone unit used to file wildlife calls after which you may view and analyze them with the Kaleidoscope software program and even create your personal classifiers!
In conclusion…
Now each night time at sundown I discover myself considering “Ooh! It’s bat time!” and I wish to get out and hearken to our furry flying mates. Bats carry out a crucial function in our ecosystems, pollinating crops & controlling insect populations. It’s extra necessary 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, study what they should survive and attempt to present it for them. And collectively we will help these fantastic 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 bats in Costa Rica
(P.S. Right here’s a video we fabricated from the best way to discover tent-making bats in Costa Rica!)

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