Bird Watching (UK) - - Photo Feature David Tipling -

ADRIAN THOMAS RSPB wildlife gar­den­ing expert We still have so much to learn about bats. It’s amaz­ing to think the So­prano Pip­istrelle was only sep­a­rated from the Com­mon Pip­istrelle in 1997, and the Al­cathoe Bat was first found in the UK in 2010, but had prob­a­bly been here for decades. Only a few of our 17 species are reg­u­lar gar­den vis­i­tors, and they need to eat thou­sands of fly­ing in­sects! That means a gar­den which mim­ics a wood­land glade, with banks of trees to pro­vide pro­tec­tion from the wind, plus a pond and other in­sect-rich habi­tats, stands a good chance of be­ing a reg­u­lar stop-off dur­ing a bat’s night-time wan­der­ings. Bat boxes are well worth putting up, too; they need to be made of un­treated tim­ber, with snug joints, and ide­ally with two or more cav­i­ties. Put up at dif­fer­ent heights and fac­ing dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions, un­der the eaves or on tree trunks, ide­ally with shel­ter above but a clear flight­line in from be­low. They may only be used oc­ca­sion­ally, but bats need that choice so they can al­ways find the op­ti­mum con­di­tions, what­ever time of year it may be.

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