Merseyside and West Lancashire Bat Group were back on site last weekend, looking to check up on the bat boxes they installed last year. Bats account for ¼ of all mammal species and they are the only true flying mammal in the UK. They are vital indicators of a healthy environment, but bats in the UK are threatened, often by loss of habitat. With this in mind, state-of-the-art bat boxes were hung last year in order to learn more about how these elusive creatures interact with the landscape and each other.
The boxes were installed upwards of 5 meters high on the trees. As we set out to investigate, the rain and hailstone made for hard work climbing up the 18ft ladders needed to reach the boxes, but the team were not deterred!
Bats take several months, sometimes even years, to explore and find new homes, particularly in areas like Knowsley where the natural habitat is already so good for them. This means progress can be slow in a project like this one, and as we approached the boxes we weren’t certain we would find any evidence of the bats using these cosy new additions to their habitat.
However, getting a closer look at the bat boxes we spotted evidence of droppings! This suggested that while the bats may take time to become fully accustomed to the boxes, some had visited and made use of the boxes – a good sign for more uptake in the future!
That being said, the bats might have to share with some disgruntled blue tits though… we found neat little nests in the bottom of a few of the boxes! Oops!
Keep an eye on our events page for your chance to get involved with our conservation efforts for native bat species found at Knowsley with our popular bat walks, which will take place at the end of the summer!
[Image credit: Bridget Murray]