The Friends of the Lincoln Community Forest initiated a new wildlife conservation initiative with the construction and installation of bat houses at two locations on the Community Forest. Friends group volunteers put up the first of two bat house poles in May. Each pole has two different styles of houses attached to it. The second pole will go up as soon as the trail to the site dries out. Bat houses provide bats a safe place to roost and raise their young in the summer.
Bats are an integral part of the ecosystem. Because of their feeding habits, bats are an important form of pest control and also pollinate and spread many important foods we eat every day. Bats have voracious appetites, and a single bat can eat thousands of insects every night.
Building a bat house is a great way to help these threatened animals. Because of their slow reproductive rates (typically 1 baby per year), bats of all species are at risk of population decline. Habitat loss, pesticides and an invasive fungus that is associated with White-Nose Syndrome are all negatively impacting bat populations. Providing alternative roosting habitat with bat houses can help lessen the impacts of these threats.
While creating habitat, the Friends of Lincoln Community Forest will contribute to monitoring of bat health and status by enrolling in the WI DNR Summer Bat Monitoring Program.
Wisconsin’s four bat species that might roost in bat houses include: little brown bats, big brown bats, eastern pipistrelle bats and northern long-eared bats. The little brown and big brown bats are the most likely of the four species to take up residence in bat houses.