Nearly 40 Years of Progress and Still Learning
By Merlin Tuttle
Bat houses are outstanding tools for education. When I introduced them to Americans in 1982, my primary objective was to help people overcome fear and accept bats as valuable neighbors. That goal has been vastly exceeded. Today, hundreds of thousands of American bats live in a wide variety of bat houses.
Individuals who have carefully tested local bat preferences, and adapted accordingly, are reporting close to 90 percent occupancy. Nevertheless, there is still much to be learned. And that is why we’re initiating new collaborations.
Late last month, local member, Debbie Zent, founder of Austin Batworks, reported an impressive event. Her three-chamber nursery house had been caulked, sealed, and painted inside and out, and was mounted high on a streamside ranch building—a nearly perfect combination. But to find it overflowing with occupants just days later was surprising.
Was this extraordinary success due to house or location quality, or were these bats simply desperate?