Chances are you’ve never heard of a bat blitz. Watch the video to see a blitz in action — and discover why you might even want to participate in one someday.

According to the Southeastern Bat Diversity Network (SBDN), “a bat blitz is a coordinated, intensive survey designed to sample the bat community in an extensive area. In just two to three days, volunteers at a bat blitz can accomplish what a small field crew could do in an entire season.”

Why a bat blitz?

Jeff Baker, a biologist with Alabama Power environmental affairs, explains: “Bat blitzes are important because the information gathered can allow conservation efforts to be focused in areas where they may be most effective or most needed.”

That information better equips land managers to consider the needs of bats in land management planning efforts, according to SBDN, whose members include bat biologists, land managers and others interested in the conservation of bats in the southeastern United States.

Biologists from Southern Company’s subsidiary Alabama Power participated in the 2016 bat blitz that took place in July in Alabama’s Talladega National Forest, helping to set and check mist nets used to survey for bats. Their efforts were part of Southern Company’s and Alabama Power’s ongoing partnership with governmental agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to collaborate on important conservation projects.

Bats may be small, but the winged mammals play a hugely important role in the ecosystem, in part because they dine on bugs.

“Bats are one of the under-appreciated groups of animals that we have in regard to pest, insect control — it’s millions and millions and millions of dollars for crop, agricultural pest control we get just indirectly from bats filling that niche and catching flying insects,” said Ryan Shurette, a forest ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service.

Bats are also important pollinators, notes Trina Morris, a wildlife biologist with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Morris enjoys educating people about bats during bat blitzes. “You see them realize that these things that I might have been afraid of my whole life are tiny, they’re furry, they’re really not anything I need to be afraid of.”

Watch the video to see amazing footage from the 2016 blitz.

Southern Company and its subsidiaries are committed to protecting wildlife and conserving natural resources. Learn more about Southern Company’s stewardship programs here.