British bats are one of our wildlife treasures, all 17 UK species are protected by law due to their dramatically reduced numbers and they are an absolute joy to watch in the late evenings.
Being lucky enough to live on a farm in Cumbria we have a thriving bat population and can sit out at night and watch them flying ….. occasionally they manage to get in doors, then it is panic stations to get them outside safely and then clean the droppings off the tv and computer …. wow they ‘drop’ a lot.
I confess they may not be the prettiest beasts when you get up close and personal but when you see them fly you see a thing of real beauty.
Last weekend was European Bat Weekend and saw bat enthusiasts going on bat walks and talks. Organised by the Bat Conservation Trust the weekend was to educate people in the reasons for declining numbers of bats and how we can protect them, as well as why they are so important to our UK wildlife in general.
Jonathan Shaw, Minister for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “The importance of bats as a species group and as an indicator of the health of the rest of our wildlife is not always recognised, which is why the Bat Conservation Trust’s work to raise the profile of these unique animals is so valuable.”
During September bats will begin to mate and store fat for the coming winter but safe roosts are crucial to their successful breeding. Bats usually only have one offspring per year so they really need our help to return to previous numbers.
Natural England has some that may help you to get the kids interested and involved in protecting bats.
A great weekend project for the workshop is to make and site bat boxes. The Wildlife Trust have a diagram and dimensions on building and siting a bat box and the Offwell Woodland & Wildlife Trust have a much more comprehensive article about building bat boxes, with an interesting postscript on how long it took for bats to be seen using the boxes.