My neighbor Such Kuroski, who works for the Southampton Town Parks and Recreation, has built and placed bat boxes—manmade roosts for bats—high on the garages in between our houses for many years. This year he has constructed a rocket box (more diverse, effective and roomy style box) and hopes to provide residents with a Hamptons escape from what biologists at Bat Conservation International are calling “the most precipitous wildlife decline in the past century in North America”—White Nose Syndrome.
White Nose Syndrome is caused by a fungus (Geomyses destructans) first found in 2005 in a cave upstate New York and has been on the rapid rise ever since, thriving in cold, dark caves and infecting many species of bats in more than 19 states. It causes the bats to awaken far too early during the hibernation period, which diminishes fat reserves that are needed to get them through the winter. Those infected with WNS are leaving caves early and dying from starvation or freezing to death. Current figures by the U.S.G.S. National Health Center of bat population decline since the emergence of WNS are as high as 97% in some areas. Since female bats only have one offspring at a time, returning to their normal population levels could take hundreds of years—even with a safe summer stay here in the Hamptons where they can give birth and rear young.
For details on how to construct a summer Hamptons home for bats visit native-wildlife-gardening.com/rocket-box-bat-house-plans/