Can one undertake a round-the-world trip with conservation uppermost in the mind? This is exactly what Nils Bouillard sought to do in 2019, adapting a popular concept in birding known as the 'big year' and focusing instead on bats. This had never been done before and so became the ideal platform to spotlight countless conservation projects across the globe. In this engaging and inspiring account, we follow Nils on his adventures – along the way discovering the extraordinary diversity of bat appearances and behaviour, and learning how we might help to protect these fascinating creatures.
During his itinerary covering just shy of 30 countries, Nils was lucky enough to encounter no fewer than 400 bat species. But beyond the impressive list, Big Bat Year is a passionate tale about the people who are protecting bats all over the world, the amazing life of these animals and the unique and doughty journey it required to set a world record. Going off the beaten path isn't difficult when it comes to bat watching, offering the chance for genuine exploration and even discovery – as evidenced by the important discovery of a species new to science while visiting Southeast Asia. This book is will appeal to any nature enthusiast, regardless of whether you enjoy chasing new species.
Nils Bouillard is a bat ecologist, bat conservation advocate and keen naturalist. He runs Barbastella Echology, specialising in bat sound analysis and training. He is passionate about improving our knowledge of bats through acoustics and sharing his love for these animals with the public.
"This book is as inspiring as it is informative. I hope it encourages others to follow in Nils's footsteps to celebrate each and every one of the 1450 species of bats and their intriguing, incredible lives."
– Jon Hall, mammalwatching.com
"Big Bat Year is a breath-taking and heartfelt story. It is well written, full of humor, and accompanied by stunning photographs. From now on, when I see a bat traverse the sky in the twilight, I will look at it in a different way, but I will also think of Nils and his incredible adventure."
– Arjan Dwarshuis, conservationist, writer and Guinness World Record holder for most birds observed in a single year
"Big Bat Year is an essential read for anyone interested in these fascinating creatures. With informative text boxes and stunning photographs, the book presents a captivating account of Nils's travels while revealing the lives and habits of bats, dispelling common myths and highlighting their importance to the natural world. It is an immersive and enlightening journey that will leave readers with a newfound appreciation for these often-misunderstood creatures. An eagerly-anticipated book that does not disappoint!"
– Jon Russ, author of Bat Calls of Britain and Europe