about this blog



I started this blog in 2008. It started mainly as a way of tracking the evolution of my dry garden, and that led to an interest in photography and in the creatures that live in the garden. It's still about the garden and wildlife, but now my passion is thinking about how we humans can learn to co-exist with wild animals and plants, especially in urban areas.

Friday, 31 July 2015

where are the microbats?



There are Australian Magpies that make themselves at home in the garden.

BUT WHERE ARE THE MICROBATS?


I'm not sure what animal has made a home in this nesting box.  I suspect it's a possum.

BUT WHERE ARE THE MICROBATS?


 There's a Pied Currawong that often pops in...

BUT WHERE ARE THE MICROBATS?


I put up this special nesting box for microbats. They may be inside but I haven't noticed any coming in or out, and I haven't noticed any in the garden.

This is what they would look like if they were inside their specially provided accommodation.

Australasian Bat Society - with permission
Bats are the only mammals that can fly.  

In Australia bats consist of large fruit-eating Flying Foxes and tiny insect-eating microbats. In Melbourne there are 17 different species of bats. All bats in Australia are native - none are introduced.
White Striped Freetail bat - photo by Robert Bender
Microbats are enormously beneficial for ecosystems. To get the energy they need to fly, they eat huge numbers of insects - up to three quarters of their body weight every night - including pests like mosquitos. And if there aren't many insects about, their metabolism slows down and they go into a state like hibernation.

Apparently microbats  are quite common in Melbourne and its suburbs, but hard to see because they are small, nocturnal, use ultrasonic calls that we can't hear and are concealed in roosts during the day.

I hope they are in my garden. If they are, I wish they'd give me a sign.

20 comments:

  1. Hi Sue,
    What a very interesting post. Bats are cute in an ugly sort of way, and they are very beneficial, interesting creatures. I've never seen one up close except in a zoo or nature center.

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    1. there's a place near here where thousands of flying foxes roost. I'm planning to there and take photos and do a post on them. It's amazing seeing them closeup in the wild.

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  2. we used sometimes to see a few bats swooping over our Porterville pond at dusk.

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  3. So interesting, as far as I know we have only one type of bat flying around here at night. As a child we used to throw a pebble in the air at dusk, the bat made then a kind of nosedive.

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    1. I've never heard of that, interesting childhood memory.

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  4. The large fruit bats may not be so welcome, hope the micro bats show up. We didnt see bats in Aberdeen. Here in Cheshire just as darkness is approaching we see them darting about in the back garden, very entertaining.

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    1. the fruit bats are also very beneficial to the environment. They spread seeds and pollen of a wide variety of native plants. Maybe they're not so welcome if you have an orchard though.

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  5. I haven't seen any bats in my garden this year, micro or macro. But I do love them and wish they'd show up to eat the mosquitoes.

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    1. I think there is something quite lovable about bats.

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  6. Good photos you posted! I hope micro bats are taking care of insects in your garden. I have seen bats in my garden on rare occasions. I think they must be very shy creatures.

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    1. I guess like all nocturnal creatures, we don't usually see them.

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  7. Can be seen at dusk in public parks, quite distinct against the sky, flitting, twisting about.
    Maybe you could wait under your bat box at that time, you may see them leave.

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    1. thanks for this, Debbie, I have waited for a while and not seen anything, I need to be more patient.

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  8. Here in N.W.England we still have a few tiny Common Pipistrelles which can be seen darting amongst the trees at dusk but unfortunately not in the same numbers as before. Forty years ago there were that many that you could also watch them feeding round the street lamps. Loss of suitable roosting places, particularly old buildings, appears to be the main cause of decline.

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    1. Hi Rick, habitat loss contributes to species depletion, even extinction round here too.

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  9. I'll pass on the Microbats but I was quite impressed with your first photo of a nesting box. That sort of opening allows you to get in there to clean out the old nest for the next occupants.

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    1. Hi Linda, actually there doesn't seem to be a way of getting into the box without breaking it. With the other nesting boxes there was a way to open it.

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  10. We still are hoping to see a resurgence of bats here and some in the garden!

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    1. I hope they come to your garden, Donna. Maybe you've got microbats without realizing it?

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