Ferdinand

Advice on Bird and Bat Boxes

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Posted (edited)

Thinking about Bat and Bird boxes.

 

The only stuff I know is my general impression that bird boxes need middling temperatures rather than hot and cold, so they should not face directly north or south, rather east or west. But I do not know about Swift Boxes. And my general impression is that bat boxes need full sun for most of the day.

 

And  do these local authorities that demand bat and bird boxes actually hand out any advice?

 

Has anyone had any help on this stuff from their Local Authorities as part of the deal when conditions are imposed? What did they say?

 

Ferdinand

 

Edited by Ferdinand
bat biology inaccuracy

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So the EBLV-1 virus from a Daubenton bat killed a chap in the UK a while back. At the end of last year EBLV-2 was detected in a serotine bat in Dorset...

 

Basically either virus cause rabies in humans.

 

Almost makes the much vilified brown rat look cute and cuddly! :)

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2 hours ago, Ferdinand said:

And my general impression is that bat boxes need full sun for most of the day, as bats are cold-blooded.

 

Hope that's a joke, as bats are mammals. Bat boxes for roosting should be sited facing in different directions, for instance the north facing ones will be used in the summer and the others at different times of the year. When I was a trustee of the local woodland trust we installed a lot of bat boxes for roosting.

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Specific bat requirements come from the ecologist who has applied for the bat licence. Ours has recommended something on each elevation of the house, except the side with lots of trees, i.e. some elevated weatherboarding, and a couple of special tiles. No problem. Except the cost of being told this. And the fee for surveys to see if the critters have decided to use the boxes. Or not.  

 

I might have mentioned before,  I'm a bit sore about the £3K...

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Posted (edited)
58 minutes ago, PeterStarck said:

Hope that's a joke, as bats are mammals. Bat boxes for roosting should be sited facing in different directions, for instance the north facing ones will be used in the summer and the others at different times of the year. When I was a trustee of the local woodland trust we installed a lot of bat boxes for roosting.

 

A lapse not a joke.

 

You are right of course. Lack of adequate checking on my part. Will edit.

 

But the main statement is correct, according to the Batmen:

 

Quote

Locate boxes:

• Where bats are known to feed close to hedges and tree lines

• Ideally at least 4m above the ground (where safe installation is possible)

• Sheltered from strong winds and exposed to the sun for part of the day (usually south or south-west)

 

F

Edited by Ferdinand

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1 minute ago, Ferdinand said:

But the main statement is correct, according to the Batmen:

I would take issue with the last recommendation.

 

2 minutes ago, Ferdinand said:

• Sheltered from strong winds and exposed to the sun for part of the day (usually south or south-west)

In the summer when the weather is hot they are unlikely to use a south facing box and more likely to use a north facing box.

 

I have only fitted them around the perimeter of woodland, not on houses.

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1 minute ago, PeterStarck said:

I would take issue with the last recommendation.

 

In the summer when the weather is hot they are unlikely to use a south facing box and more likely to use a north facing box.

 

I have only fitted them around the perimeter of woodland, not on houses.

 

Interesting. Thanks.

 

F

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The preservation of swift birds is very important in the area I live. A university student did a research document on them a few years ago. Got a grant to do more research which developed into more grants, involvement by the professors and now the local authority and local area is the main swift conservation area in Ireland. Had to work with the local authority, heritage officer and conservation officer on a few projects where we knew they were nesting. They've a lot of info on the swift boxes here.

http://www.swiftconservation.ie/nest-box-advice/

 

The huge advantage of swift birds is they're very quiet, they don't shlt anywhere near the nest or building like other nesting birds and are generally very clean. The elliptical hole  (for which specific dimensions are available) into the bird box ensures the bird box is only used by swifts and not other birds.

 

As for bats, loads of info is available for them. On one project I worked on we had a bat conservation specialist. We called him Batman!

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Our permanent bat boxes will be put onto the west face of the stairwell section at a height of 5 metres. It certainly is more than a replacement for the lost summer roost previously there, as it was in a bungalow!

 

For swift boxes, the orientation of choice is north to keep the boxes cool when the chicks have hatched. West or east at a push. You can put them on a south face but the boxes need to have their roof designed to deflect sun.  The same goes for many bird boxes - we have some highly successful sparrow terraces on the north east corner of our current house.

 

The recommendation for schwegler vat boxes came from the ecologist. Natural England said that they had no preference for any particular type as long as it was suitable for the species likely to roost.

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What box for vampire bats?

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11 hours ago, vivienz said:

The same goes for many bird boxes - we have some highly successful sparrow terraces on the north east corner of our current house.

I am going to build a sparrow terrace this month and site it under the eaves on the NNE side of the house. A lot of boxes are positioned in the sun which can be a problem for young birds that only receive moisture through the food brought to them.

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I am going to have a bungalow. For those who know about these matters, is their any point putting next boxes under the eaves so low down? What might I do to help our wildlife neighbours?

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Can you plant native hedging around the plot? Once it gets established, it can support lots more wildlife than a few nest boxes. Mature ivy is fabulous, too. A rich late season nectar source, provides berries through the winter and nesting/shelter provision all year round as it's evergreen. It's also beautiful grown up posts and pillars to give an architectural impact to a garden.

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11 minutes ago, vivienz said:

Mature ivy is fabulous, too

If you have a small garden and don't like ivy, honeysuckle is a good alternative. We are also going to grow pyracantha along part of the fence, it is evergreen but spikey and the birds like it for nesting and the berries are a good food source.

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50 minutes ago, Dreadnaught said:

I am going to have a bungalow. For those who know about these matters, is their any point putting next boxes under the eaves so low down? What might I do to help our wildlife neighbours?

 

Its fine - plenty will nest there as it’s away from predators such as cats. 

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On 10/03/2019 at 09:42, Dreadnaught said:

I am going to have a bungalow. For those who know about these matters, is their any point putting next boxes under the eaves so low down? What might I do to help our wildlife neighbours?

 

Aim for house sparrows.

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We have several fully populated sparrow terraces. The sparrows roost in them all year round and they are charming neighbours. OH built the boxes which have perches beneath the entrance holes and hinged bases to make it easy to remove old nesting material. The sparrows have a habit of including lavender and bay leaves in their nests.

 

Here's a selection of the boxes on our current house - sparrow, swift and starling. The swifts haven't taken up their boxes, but the starlings love them.

20190313_071106.jpg

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I hadn’t thought about bird boxes around the place before but starting to love the idea.  Our elderly cat rarely ventures out so for the first time in our lives, we are safe to encourage birds into our gardens.  Currently putting out fat ball things which is attracting all kinds of birds (and squirrels) and going to collect the dog fur when they are trimmed for nesting.

 

What a lovely thread - has brightened my morning on a very dark day in the world.

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I am planning owl boxes around us, we have at least one barn owl that is resident near us and I want to encourage them. We already have bat boxes built into my workshop and many bird boxes dotted around, we enjoy having breakfast watching lots of different bird types on our feeders. Next year I am looking forward to sowing the meadow (currently a soggy bog) with wild meadow grasses and flowers 👍.

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