Tree climbing in search of bats

Tree Climbing inspections for bats

As part of the wider Tortworth Bat Project members of Avon Bat Group have been undertaking tree climbing inspections for bats within the arboretum. All of the UK’s 17 resident bat species have a close association with woodland with 16 of the species relying on trees, at least in part, to live in.

From previous survey work we know that a good number of bat species use the habitats in and around the arboretum and we are hopeful that our surveys will turn up some more interesting finds.

Unlike birds or other small mammal species, bats do not create a nest instead they choose to utilise existing features to roost. In trees bats will take advantage of decay cavities, splits and cracks as well as features created by other animals such as woodpecker holes.

Avon Bat Group are slowly working their way through all of the trees in the arboretum. Those with suitable roosting features are climbed to inspect for any evidence of bats. So far we haven’t found any direct evidence of bats (not unusual when surveying in winter as bats will be hibernating at this time of year) but we have found a number of suitable roosting features that have been noted for a repeat survey in the summer months. Despite not finding any evidence of bats, one of our members was very surprised to find a tawny owl in a decay column in a poplar by the stream.