Celebrate Bats & Owls as October recognizes both cool species!
There couldn’t be a more fitting time of year to think about bats! The great thing is that bat houses and owl boxes help both species thrive, and they’ll take you up on cozy digs if offered in suitable habitat.
Beneficial to have around your property for rodent and insect control, bats and owls could use a helping hand as their natural habitats continue to shrink.
If you’ve ever climbed up in the attic to find a bat or two clinging to the vent screen… it can be a bit unnerving! But the flying mammals are fairly harmless and sadly, quite misunderstood. Popular at Halloween for their cryptic character, the Organization for Bat Conservation (OBC) has been established to educate and inspire people to save bats.
Installing a bat house is advantageous as these not-so mysterious creatures consume thousands of insects nightly, not to mention that as pollinators, bats help gardens thrive. Cool factoid: Being the sole pollinator of the agave plant, if it weren’t for bats there would be no tequila! Bat boxes are available from single- to 5-chambers, in durable cedar or recycled plastic.
WHHHOOOOO would’ve thunk it?
Owls seize every opportunity to find shelter and food sources wherever possible. When it comes to habitat, owls are versatile as they reside in wooded areas (most common), rain forests, grasslands, and open prairie. As long as owls are able to stake claim to their own territory and hide from predators during the day, they are survivors.
The common misunderstanding is that owls live in tree-tops but the reality is, they live in tree trunks, abandoned structures and barn rafters. Some live in shrubs and bushes where you would never think to look for them. Often, these birds are not found high off the ground as many people believe. Owls will use a suitable hollowed out log or opening in a tree for nesting, bud sadly dead trees and snags are often discarded by land owners.
Truth be told is that owls need not be perched up high to find their prey. They’ll hunt right from their nest location or owl house instead of using a perch like most birds. Some owl species like the Great Horned- will not start a new nest, instead claiming nests of other raptors or Common Ravens that have been left behind. Barn Owls are known to roost year-round in their houses, so clean-out is best during non-breeding months in January/February.
Because owls are an isolating and territorial species, it’s believed that habitat loss could become critical for future survival. Even though they’re highly adaptable, owls like other wildlife are limited in what they can do without their natural habitat.
Interested in learning more to assist these majestic raptors? Install a species-specific owl house to offer cozy habitat for nesting and roosting.
They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky… remember the theme song? Maybe old enough like us to mix them up with the family residing at 1313 Mockingbird Lane.
It was Grandpa from the Munster’s who had the pet bat! Only showing him in flight, I don’t recall ever seeing his bat house, can you remember his name? Regardless, both of those theme songs keep replaying in the brain.
On a more serious note, it’s believed that about 44% of bees have perished this year from pesticide poisoning, which is really scary! Like the birds & bees, bats are also major pollinators of tropical plants and fruit, they’re considered the night shift pollinators.
Thankfully, more folks are tuning into the needs of these friendly flying mammals with fur. Offering bat houses for roosting actually helps promote pollination. Aside from the thousand of insects consumed nightly, pollination is a huge draw. Especially for the agave plant, because without it- there would be no tequila!
Materials vary from recycled plastic and cedar to aged barn wood for a more rustic appeal. There’s even several plans available online to build your own.
It may prove difficult at first to attract them, residing near a pond or lake greatly increase chances of occupancy. Recommended height is 12 to 15 feet, with a clear pathway to entry.
Facing SE or SW allows the bat house to receive maximum sun exposure for retained heat. Structures of brick, stone or wood are ideal mounting surfaces as they also retain heat. Metal- not so much. A pole may be easiest as the shelter can be attached while still on the ground, and then erected with bat house already secured.
Either way, bat houses are definitely something worth looking into. With holiday approaching they’d make an excellent gift for the nature-lover on your list.
Smart innovations (made in the USA) using durable materials means better quality, especially for items that remain outdoors. For seven years, we’ve had phenomenal feedback on all of our vinyl birdhouses and feeders – in fact some folks even thought they were made from wood!
With the popularity of natural insect control, and the increasing aversion to pesticides (thank goodness), bat houses have become a top preference for zapping those blood-sucking, nasty insects!
This brand new bat shelter with many a creature comfort will entice friendly brown bats and keep them roosting around your place. One tiny single bat can eat more than 1000 mosquitoes per night, now multiply that by 65, which is the approximate capacity here.
Made in the USA, the new vinyl design is completely impervious weather… will not crack, warp, split or mildew. The light color actually helps cool the box and stabilize inside temperatures during warm summer months. That’s important stuff if you’re a bat! It also blends well with the lighter colors of exterior paint on many homes – and that’s important stuff to people, it won’t stick out like a sore thumb!
Mounting height should be at least 15 ft. from the ground, on any structure, tree, or 4×4 post. Be sure entry is free and clear of any limbs or branches which might impede landing. It may take a little time for bats to discover their new digs, but if they already reside in your area, occupancy could be immediate. Having water nearby is more appealing to them; as in a creek, lake, stream or pond. Not a requirement, but more suitable habitat.
So vow to quit the bug zappers and chemicals this year, it’s far better for everyone’s health and the environment too. Try a bat house and entice these friendly, furry little mammals to your yard!
They make some cool shelters these days, from vintage to Victorian, recycled plastic, even kits to build your own bat houses. You can try your luck at attracting bats without a big investment. But why would anyone want to attract them? One word – beneficial would sum it up best!
Bats are major pollinators and seed spreaders. Natural insect control is another huge advantage to hosting these friendly mammals (yes, they’re mammals). Even small bat colonies will consume thousands of mosquitoes and other pests nightly.
Habitat plays a key role in attracting any friendly fliers to your place. This holds true for butterflies, hummingbirds and songbirds too. If pesticides are being used, stop! They’re harmful to the to the environment, wildlife and the ecosystem in general. Pristine, manicured lawns are becoming passe, more naturalized areas are in style. This doesn’t mean jungle… it involves use of native plants, naturalized beds, and varied habitat.
You can attract bats by offering places for them to roost (other than your attic vents). Bat houses needn’t be plain square boxes, but stylish shelters that complement the landscape. The two shown are handcrafted in the USA, and made from solid cypress.
If water exists on your property, there’s a strong likelihood bats will use your shelters. Being near a creek, stream, or pond is preferable. They require a stable environment, steady temperatures within their roosts. Facing the houses south will allow full sun exposure to warm the boxes. Two bat houses are even better, facing them in different directions and allowing for varying temperatures. Leaving an outside light on at night may also assist in bringing bats to your place. As bugs swarm the light, bats will follow if they’re currently near your property.
Height is important when installing the houses as well. Some say 10 feet is sufficient, others claim 15-20 feet from the ground is best. Mount directly on a tree, structure or pole.
You can learn more about housing specs and hosting bats from The Organization for Bat Conservation.
Almost eight years later and we’re still dealing with the mysterious fungus known as white nose syndrome which is critically affecting the bat population. Originating in the northeastern US, it’s continually spreading further west and south. Although it may seem trivial to some, the furry, winged mammals (yes they’re mammals) play a key role in the eco-system… especially to farmers and their crops.
By offering shelter in the form of bat houses, you’ll encourage the critters to stick around. Several species are known to use the houses for roosting, and the shelters range in size from a single chamber to larger 5-chamber models. There’s even designer bat houses to enhance your landscape!
If you can spare 60 seconds, please see the quick note below from the Center for Biological Diversity, and take a stand for bats… thanks!
Since 2006 a deadly fungal disease called white-nose syndrome has killed nearly 7 million North American bats, pushing several species to the brink of extinction and creeping farther across the country every year.
These bats have declined by 98 percent over a large portion of their range, and have been waiting a painfully long time for an emergency rescue. But — just as life-saving protections are in sight — the Service’s proposal to protect the creatures could be derailed by greedy energy companies, who are lining up to limit the bat’s protection.
Please take action now to tell the Fish and Wildlife Service to protect northern long-eared bats without delay. If we wait any longer, it may well be too late.