New maternity roost for Townsends Big-eared Bats
A new maternity roost for Townsends Big-eared Bats has been constructed on the Earl Conservation property near Newgate, on Koocanusa Reservoir’s west side.
Wildlife biologist with the Province of B.C., Larry Ingham, led the work that was completed at the end of 2017. There is an old barn on private property that is currently being used by the bats for a maternity roost and an alternative site has been provided before its condition is no longer suitable.
The structure is large, at 18’ long and 15’ high, with many design features that make it perfect for bats. It is extremely well-insulated, with multiple vents to allow air movement, completely black inside, and rodent-proof. There is one floor at ground level and another at the five-foot level. An access hole between the two floors lets the Bats retreat to the first floor, if the upper level gets too warm.
The design replicates a portable maternity roost that was made for the St Eugene Mission and that one is being extensively used by Townsends. It took a few years for the mothers to start using it, and it is anticipated that the same will happen with this one.
Since it is a maternity roost, it is anticipated that females will arrive in May and spend the whole summer raising their pups there, before leaving in the fall.
Townsends Big-eared Bats are Provincially Blue-listed and, like many bat species, have been impacted by the loss of wetlands – where they typically feed for insects – due to reservoir creation. This project aligns with the FWCP’s Species of Interest Action Plan.
And how does one attract potential new occupants to your new maternity roost? Collect guano from the barn, of course, and spread it liberally on your new flooring.