Our gratitude to Victor Castellano for building and installing the new bat house at VISTA Gardens! As more and more tree growth surrounded the former bat house, relocation was necessary. When we attempted to move it, we realized it had deteriorated beyond repair and Victor kindly offered to construct and install a new one.
“Bats are an amazing species for a variety of reasons, but two reasons that many people are fond of them is for their pest control and nutrient services. In the natural environment, bats roost in caves and trees, but with as much development as Florida has seen and will continue to see, bats’ opportunity to find habitat in trees is diminishing. Providing a bat house is one way to help provide additional shelter options for these creatures. There are 1,100 species of bats in the world, 48 in the United States and 13 in Florida. Of those 13, 4 can be attracted with a bat house: the Evening, Big Brown, Brazilian free-tailed and Southeastern bat.” Lara Milligan, Natural Resources Agent, UF/IFAS Extension Pinellas County. http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/pinellasco/2014/10/27/bats-in-your-backyard/
There is a new owl house at VISTA. Florida is the year-round home to six species of owls and four occasional visitors such as the striking Snowy Owl, and we now have a home designed for the Eastern Screech-Owl and Northern Saw-whet Owl. Nesting pairs of owls and their voracious owlets can consume thousands of small rodents in a year. Because they eat a variety of prey and are significant rodent predators, owls are welcome residents on most farms and homesteads. https://www.waltonoutdoors.com/owls-floridas-remarkable-nocturnal-birds-of-prey/
Thanks to Bill West for mounting the owl house and to Greg and Shirley Williams for their expert advice and consult in the process.