All aerial insectivores matter, including bats! This is a group of animals that make their living in a similar way. Together they comprise a guild. Aerial insectivores are animals that consume insects in the air column. This includes nighthawks, swifts, bats and swallows. Across the world, this group is in decline, likely due to a number of factors that include: pesticide use, land use change, and climate change.
Aerial insectivores are ecologically important. They provide pest control in agricultural and residential areas.
Many nest in cavities, and those sites are in peril. For example, Chimney Swifts use chimneys and specialized feet to cling to the chimney’s vertical surfaces. Some property owners are excluding them from nesting in their chimneys, while other property owners have learned to coexist with them. For more information, check out this excellent article.
So, back to the bats. In addition to consuming insects, bats disperse seeds and pollen in some areas. Check out this post here on their ecological importance.
Do you have bats in your home? Want to know how to support the bat population while excluding them from your home? Organization for Bat Conservation sells bat boxes and provides plans for building your own bat box. The best way to to deal with bat hibernating bats in your home is in the winter by installing vertical pvc pipes at their exit points. When they are ready to leave in the spring, this will prevent their re-entry.
Check out more stunning bat photos here.