28 Mar 2010

Make a Bat Box!

I had great fun a couple of weeks ago when the Woodcraft group I help made bat boxes. Some great help from Ivi Szaboova-Baxendale from Stroud Valleys Project who have a great leaflet.

Photos of the Woodcraft evening

I've always had an affection - or something - for these small, furry insect eaters - indeed when I was very very much younger I helped set up a Bat group that had Judith Hann off Tomorrows World as an honoree member - because she hung upside down in one of the programmes! OK that will have to be a story for another time....

Anyhow bats need a range of roosting sites, including summer daytime roosts, winter hibernation ones and breeding sites. Amazingly in the boxes we made each box will have between 50 and 80 bats roosting!!!!!!

Here are some tops:

- Make the box from rough sawn timber to give the bats something to cling to. Make sure the wood is untreated - many wood preservatives kill bats!

- Cut plank as shown in SVP guidance sheet.

- Fit together with lid so that it can open: need to clear it out once a year.

- The best place to position a bat box is on a tree some 5 metres high. Place them in groups round three sides of a tree - bats like to move from one box to another during the day and from season to season as temperatures change.

- Clear away surrounding branches to give them a clear flight path.

- Boxes can also be located on buildings. A good position is under the eaves to protect them from bad weather.

- Bats can take a while to investigate new premises, but if your box is not occupied within three years, try moving it. You can check if the box is being used by looking for crumbly brown or black droppings on the ground.

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