Bat Boxes Galore

With the nights drawing in and the heady nights of summer a mere distant memory, one would think that the work of the bat group was winding down for a few months.  However, thanks to funding from the Heritage Lottery fund, a bit of respite from the amazing world of bats is far from the truth.

Leisler in hand from one of the bat boxes

A Leisler’s bat found in one of the bat boxes in Cottage Wood

Part of our Heritage Lottery Fund grant included money for the erection of bat boxes in sites across the country.  Strategically placing bat boxes of various designs, in different habitats and facing different directions will provide important information in box uptake by bats.

Bat group committee member Austin Hopkirk and a number of bat group volunteers have travelled the country over the summer, putting up the bat boxes.  Now, the bat boxes are being checked for evidence of bat usage. Evidence can include bat droppings at the base of the box, tiny scratch marks around the entrance or even bats themselves.

Recently Austin and his volunteers have visited Ormeau Park in Belfast.  Last Saturday (15/11/2014) the Northern Ireland Bat Group went to Cottage Wood in Cushendall to check 14 bat boxes that had been put up in August 2013.  In both Ormeau Park and Cottage Wood, bats were found nestled in some of the bat boxes.  At the Cushendall site, the team were also treated to the sight of red squirrel scampering up and down the mature trees and feeding on the carefully positioned squirrel feeders put up by the Glens Red Squirrel Group. Thanks go to Daniel, from the Glens Red Squirrel Group for explaining about the work that the group do in the area.

Get involved checking bat boxes

Please remember if you see a bat box, don’t disturb it.  This sort of inspection requires a licence and experience. If you’d like to get involved use the contact page to find out when further inspections are going on.  All visits are weather dependent. For insurance purposes, to come on one of these trips you must be a member of the Northern Ireland Bat Group, Bat Conservation Ireland or Bat Conservation Trust – if you ever needed an excuse to join one of these amazing organisations – what better reason?