Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Barn Bats at the Bottoms

     There's a new apartment in the old barn at the TNC Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve.  It's reserved for bats.  Staff from The Nature Conservancy recently "remodeled" a room in the old structure in hopes of attracting bats.  Ken Brunson, Red Hills Project Coordinator, and Rob Penner, Manager of the Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve, collaborated in sealing off an interior room leaving a small entrance for access by these flying mammals.  While an occasional bat would use the structure for roosting, this construction project was designed to make an attractive room for a possible maternity colony of Cave Myotis, Myotis velifer.  The barn is several miles north of a latitude known to harbor the furthest northern recorded maternity colony for this species.   So in a way, this is a pro-active move to perhaps accommodate the species if it follows a northward trend as indicated by other animals, perhaps in response to known changing climatic conditions.             The idea comes from observations of this species along with a few others utilizing interior graineries of old barns for winter hibernacula (winter roosts) as well as for birthing areas for females.  Fairly common in the Red Hills, this species is found in caves as well as old houses and barns.  The problem with this particular room, though, was that it was too open.  So with a small amount of materials and effort, we made a bat condo--hopefully.
The big barn is a landmark at the Cheyenne Bottoms Preserve.  While providing habitat for barn owls,
wood rats, raccoons, opossums, barn swallows and a
number of other small animals, it offers enough space to hopefully include a summer colony of Cave Myotis bats.

Armed with a generator, pressed wallboard,
and assorted hand tools, the bat men went to work.
Although the "bat room" was on an outside wall,
hopes are that insulating the outside wall will help
with appropriate thermal regulation to attract
female Myotis bats.

Rob puts finishing touches on the
human entry door to the "bat room."  

As observed in a similar barn further to the
south, we hope to see this sight in our bat condo
in the future.  Cave Myotis migrate to summer
maternity colonies in mid-April so if we are really
lucky, perhaps we'll see some bats finding this
special place soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment