So everyone knows that we need to save the bees. And pollinators too. But what are all the pollinators? Well, the list is long and it does include lots of butterflies but it also includes bats.
Bats are fascinating. To watch their jagged flight patterns as they dart and dive for mosquito food is a fascinating way to spend an early summer evening. They don't come out until the light is low, so you only really see their shadowed outline but you can tell what they are by the way they flap (much jerkier than a bird) and their jumpy flight.
Bats have been in serious decline due to disease (you can read more about White Nose Syndrome here) and pesticide use (taking away their food source).
There are efforts to control the spread of the disease around major bat caves and areas where scientists have identified an issue. These areas of where there are large bat populations are particularly prone to disease infestation due to sheer size and quantity of bats.
One answer to the crisis is to create many small bat houses. Since bats depend on each other’s body heat to warm their summer roosts, artificial roosts can be warmed efficiently by just a few bats and may help the populations recover.
There are plenty of inexpensive bat houses available online that will get you started with helping out the bats in your area. But this one caught my eye with it's more interesting design.
You can build it yourself with plans found on Bat Conservation International's website. If this one doesn't strike you as much as it does me, you can also find other bat house plans.
You might also take inspiration from the Let's Remake group in Urbana Illinois. All of these pictures are from a group project where, together, they made and installed a half dozen bat houses in their neighborhood. Community efforts like this tend to be more effective that individual efforts as you build a little momentum with in the community (of bats) and can more quickly re-establish a healthy population.