Small wooden outdoor houses can provide safe shelter to more than just birds. They can also be a safe haven during the day to the world’s only flying mammal.
Grant Hill of Pause to Feather Creations has been making bat houses amongst bird feeders, collage prints and more since 2017 at his property on the Barkerville Highway east of Quesnel.
“There are not nearly as many bats as there used to be, and I’m hoping to spread out populations before something like White-Nose Syndrome hits,” he said.
Before venturing into full-time environmental conservation and awareness, Hill previously worked in the corporate world in which he was involved with a sales contract with Gibraltar mine.
He says his hand-made cedar houses for bats are commonly sold to two types of people: those wanting to attract bats to help with mosquitoes around their property and those wanting to provide them with alternative housing after repelling them from their attic.
While a bat house can be installed any time of year, the best time is when bats first return from their winter hibernation site to their maternity site in April or May, according to the Community Bat Programs of BC.
Outside Hill recommends bat houses are installed at least 12 feet above the ground facing south with a clear path of flight for incoming bats, preferably by a water source.
One type of home offered by Hill can hold up to 200 little brown myotis (little brown bat) commonly found across the Cariboo Chilcotin while another Hill is calling the ‘bat-chelor pad’ provides a single chamber for male bats.
“I’ve had people contact me within a week of putting them up and told me I wouldn’t believe them, but they got pictures of bats going into their houses,” he said, adding others have told him their bat houses have been empty for a few years.
“The only way you’re going to really attract a bat is if it’s dispersing from a colony that’s close by and it’s moving into a different location.”