At Glenribbeen Eco Lodge we’re committed to helping the local wildlife.
To the end we’ve got multiple bird feeders (that are squirrel friendly yet squirrel proof – the red-squirrels can’t eat their way through the feeder and spill nuts on the ground that in turn would choke the young birds). The feeders are at various points around the garden to prevent ‘hogging’ by one bird or type of bird.
In addition to erecting bird houses we now have bat boxes to help with the populations of vespertilionid bats such as the 3 dominant ones around here; common pipistrelle, Leisler’s bat, Daubenton’s.
Bats are flying mammals in the order Chiroptera with forelimbs developed as wings. Other mammals, such as flying squirrels or gliding phalangers, can glide limited distances, but only bats are capable of true flight. The name Chiroptera can be translated as Hand Wing, as the structure of the open wing is very similar to an outspread human hand, covered in a membrane.
The vast majority of bats are insectivorous, all in Ireland are.
Bats are mammals. This means that they are covered in fur, they have warm blood, they give birth (rather than laying eggs) and they suckle their babies with milk. There are over 1,000 species of bat worldwide, all in the Order Chiroptera. The greatest diversity of bat species is found in warm equatorial areas where there are fruit-, fish-, insect-, pollen- and even frog-eating types. In Ireland we have nine species confirmed as residents, all of which belong to the bat Sub-order Microchiroptera. All of the Irish bat species consume only insects and the nine residents belong to two Families – the Vespertilionidae (with eight species) and the Rhinolophidae (with one species).
The best time of year is summer when bats are most active. Choose a place that is safe to walk at night, make sure to wrap up warm and carry a torch with spare batteries and a bat detector with spare batteries if you have access to one. Among the best locations to watch are at known roosts when bats are emerging. Arrive at dusk – most Irish species emerge between sunset and 1 hour and 30 minutes afterwards. Get comfortable (bring a stool) and try to get your line of vision against the sky so you can see the bats silhouetted against the falling light levels. Never shine a torch on their entrance/exit point because this will delay emergence or prevent emergence entirely. Other places to go watch bats could be local areas of freshwater and trees – such as rivers or canals. In this kind of location you can shine a torch beam across the surface of still water and you may see a Daubenton’s bat fly quickly across catching insects on the surface of the water. A bat flitting around a hedgerow could be a common pipistrelle.
You can watch bats along a stretch of waterway in your locality and help contribute to a nationwide count of Daubenton’s bats. To find out more about the Waterways Survey and how to volunteer see the Monitoring page on this website.
A number of bat walks guided by local bat groups or the National Parks and Wildlife Service are organised during the summer. For details of BCI events see the events page.
From The Bat Conservation of Ireland.
NB; Bat identification is quite difficult, so if you find a dead bat, please contact BCI.