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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: An analysis of the usage of bat boxes in England, Wales and Ireland for The Vincent Wildlife Trust

Published source details

Poulton S.M.C. (2006) An analysis of the usage of bat boxes in England, Wales and Ireland for The Vincent Wildlife Trust.

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Provide bat boxes for roosting bats Bat Conservation

A replicated, site comparison study in 1985–2005 at 52 woodland sites in the UK (Poulton 2006) found an overall bat box occupation rate of 9%, although occupancy varied with box design and height, and increased with time since installation. A total of 5,986 boxes were occupied of 68,715 box inspections. Concrete bat boxes had higher occupancy rates than wooden boxes, with Schwegler design 1FF and 2FN boxes occupied the most (90% of records). Occupancy rates, bat counts and species counts were higher in bat boxes established for more than four years (18% occupancy, 60 bats and 15 species/100 box inspections) than boxes established for less than one year (8% occupancy, 22 bats and six species/100 box inspections). Occupancy rates were higher for Natterer’s bats Myotis nattereri in lower bat boxes (3% at £4 m, 2% at ³7 m), and higher for common noctule bats Nyctalus noctula in higher bat boxes (5% at £4 m, 7% at ³7 m).  Bat boxes were installed on 1,410 trees across 52 sites (10–208 trees/site). Ten different bat box designs were included in the study (Schwegler designs 1FF, 1FS, 1FW, 2F, 2FN, SW, Wedge, Martin, CJM and Messenger). Boxes were inspected at monthly intervals in 1985–2005, but not all boxes were inspected monthly or yearly.

(Summarised by Anna Berthinussen)