Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: A comparison of different bat box types by bat occupancy in deciduous woodland, Buckinghamshire, UK

Published source details

Dodds M. & Bilston H. (2013) A comparison of different bat box types by bat occupancy in deciduous woodland, Buckinghamshire, UK. Conservation Evidence, 10, 24-28

Abstract

An experiment was conducted to determine if Natterer’s bat Myotis nattereri and brown long-eared bat Plecotus auritus exhibited an occupation preference between five different bat box types in an ancient, lowland mixed deciduous woodland in Buckinghamshire. Groups of Schwegler 2F, 2FN, 1FS, 1FF woodcrete boxes and 1 wooden Apex box were erected in 13 locations (5 around each tree). The box clusters were located on trees with a proven history of good box occupancy levels - part of a 10 year woodland bat box scheme. The group positions were evenly spaced along a transect line of 300m in homogenous habitat of predominantly semi mature Pendunculate Oak Quercus robur and Ash Fraxinus excelsior closed canopy with lapsed Hazel Corylus avellana coppice understorey. The temperature regimes of the boxes were compared and found to be similar, and consistent with the ambient temperature due to the shaded nature of the sites. Aspect was experimentally controlled by progressively rotating the box positions around the tree. The occupancy rates of the five boxes were compared and showed a selection bias towards two box types, influenced by seasonal bird competition.