The Netherlands consists largely of agricultural land and the Farmer is looking for Bat project (Boer zoekt vleermuis) encourages farmers to make their land more attractive to bats by making changes including erecting bat boxes.
This is both good for biodiversity and good for the farmer as bats catch a lot of insects which can reduce the number of flies bothering livestock. This can also help reduced the use of pesticides typically used to control the numbers of insects around cattle.
The project was carried out by one of our European partners, Zoogdiervereniging (the Dutch Mammal Society) along with the Centre for Agriculture and the Environment (CLM) in collaboration with agriculture and landscape associations. Three provinces participated in the project, with at least 30 farms erecting over 270 bat boxes.
In South Holland, bat experts surveyed 25 agricultural premises, predominantly dairy farms, looking at the sites, expected species and immediate environment and made recommendations for each location.
The measures recommended were then applied and over 160 Vivara Pro Bat Boxes were used as part of the action taken, with occupancy of some boxes being reported within the first year in situ!
The Cloister Garden of the former St. Catherine’s Monastery in Sambeek, Netherlands.
The old St. Catherine’s Monastery was to be demolished, but wildlife including Swifts, House Sparrows and bats had moved into the derelict building. Before demolition work could start alternative nesting and roosting accommodation had to be provided in the immediate vicinity of the Monastery, so the local authority asked us to
build a fauna tower.
The tower is 2.6 metres square and consists of three stories rising to 9 metres. 8,000 bricks were used in the construction, along with 110 built-in boxes to provide nesting or roosting space for a variety of wildlife, including bats, House Martins, Swifts, White Wagtails, Black Redstarts, Common redstarts, Barn Owls, Little Owls, solitary bees and other insects.
The Fauna Tower contains:
1. Bat loft
The tower has a gabled roof with a 60 degree pitch, clad with tiles similar to those on St Catherine’s monastery. The pitched roof created an open loft space with plenty of footholds for long-eared bats and clear space for them to fly around in prior to departing on foraging trips.
A 1.5 metre deep cellar was included in the design to maintain the high humidity that bats require throughout the tower. Temperature and humidity varies from cellar to loft, creating a variety of microclimates for the bats to use, and each floor is fitted with batten panels to create footholds and niches. This helps the bats to find their ideal conditions within the tower.
2. House Martin Nests (product numbers 93818 and 93817)
3. Staggered soldier course, creating ideal roosting areas for House Sparrows and other birds.
4. WoodStone® Build-in Hidden Swift Boxes (product number 90095).
5. WoodStone® Insect Blocks for solitary bees and wasps, beetles and other invertebrates (product number 92056)
6. Internal Barn Owl Nest Box (product number 90328) accessed through the owl window. Little Owl Apex Nest Box on north facade (product number 90128).
7. Segovia Build-in WoodStone® Bat Boxes (product number 91024).
8. Build-in WoodStone® House Sparrow Nest Boxes (product number 90746).
9. WoodStone® Build-in Open Nest Boxes for Black Redstarts, Commons Redstarts and White Wagtails (product number 90745).
10. WoodStone® Build-in Visible Swift BoxesVisible (product number 90096).
11. Access door on first floor, to avoid unwanted human visitors.
As well as the birds named above we also expect the nest boxes will be used by Starlings, Blue Tits, Great Tits and other species.