Thursday, February 10, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Another winter month has come and gone, and we continue our preparations for the new season. This past week, we began construction and assembly of our bird houses and bat boxes. One of our planned improvements for obtaining our Audubon Sanctuary certification was to construct nest boxes and place them at strategic locations throughout the course to enhance the local environment and natural habitat.

Bird houses were constructed first using natural cedar wood. Below, you can see Assistant Shawn Fopma cutting the cedar wood down to size.

In all, ten bird houses were constructed. Each bird house has a side door that pivots open, which is essential for cleaning out old nests and monitoring the nesting birds. We hope to see various bird species using these boxes this coming year.

In addition to the bird houses, bat boxes were also constructed. Also made out of natural cedar wood, these bat boxes provide a safe, undisturbed home for bats. Bats are essential because they feed on moths, mosquitoes, beetles and other insects. These bat boxes can hold approximately 100 bats; however, it is unlikely each box will reach full capacity. Inside each box is three wooden baffles with rough sides to give the bats something to cling to.

Since bats favor warm conditions, each roof was darkened with stain to increase heat absorption. Five bat boxes were constructed.

Interesting fact: a typical summer colony of 100 bats feeding 200 days will consume more than 2200 pounds of insects or approximately 600,000,000 bugs!