Happy Fathers Day!
My dad is a really special man – he’s there for me whenever I need him, for anything. He makes me feel better when I need a rational voice. He’s quick-witted, and intelligent, and kind. The man has a heart as big as this country. He’ll still pick me up on a night I’ve had one too many and drive me home, even though he lives almost an hour away. He’s the best. I love him to bits. I also drive him batty sometimes.
Love you, Dad. I hope you like your Fathers Day gift as much as I liked making it. I had so much fun.
Remember when you used to make something for Dad for Fathers Day? I remember it too. It was yesterday, and again this morning. There’s no reason why you can’t still make something cool for Dad for Fathers Day. This is the project I decided to make for my dad for Fathers Day.
About a month ago, we were all hanging out as a family, and my dad started telling us about bats and how bats could soon be in danger of extinction. I had no idea. Besides humans being a huge contributor to bat extinction because of deforestation and herbicide use, among other things, bats are also at risk because of a rise in the incidence of white nose syndrome. This makes me sad. It’s so important we don’t lose bats – they’re such useful creatures and hardly the monsters people make them out to be in their imaginations. I could tell by the way he was talking about it, that Dad was interested in this issue and that it bothered him the way it does me. We both have a very VERY big heart for animals and their welfare.
I got thinking about what we, as regular everyday people, could do to help. Now, I’m no bat wrangler, but I could build them their very own sanctuary! A bat house, of course!
Our bat house plans, along with instructions for mounting it to either a post or a building, can be found at the Bat Conservation International website.
We set out to work.
Here’s how it went.
Please consider building your own bat house – it is easy and actually really fun too.
Building a Bat House
To build a single-chamber bat house, you will need the following materials:
~ a 2ft x 4ft sheet of 1/2″ plywood
~ one piece of 1″ x 2″ x 8ft wood (furring strip)
~ 20-30 1-1/4″ screws
~ 1 pint of exterior paint or stain, in a dark colour, and water-based
~ 1 tube paintable latex caulking
~ a 1″ x 4″ x 28″ piece of wood for roof
~ a piece of window screening, 24″ x 26″
Other tools you’ll need:
~ a saw
~ measuring tape
~ paint brush
~ caulking gun
~ staple gun
First, measure and cut plywood into 3 pieces: 26 1/2″ x 24″, 16 1/2″ x 24″, 5″ x 24″.
It’s always nice to have help cutting.
Here are the finished cut pieces:
Paint the finished pieces all a very dark colour, on all sides. This is important, since bats are so sensitive to light. We chose black.
Once everything is painted, it’s time to start construction.
Cut the window screening to the size of the back wall of the bat house. The window screening helps mimic the rough surface on the inside of the bark of a tree. Bats typically shelter themselves between the trunk of a tree and the lifted bark of a tree to sleep.
Use a staple gun to attach the screening to the back wall.
Next, it’s time to frame the chamber where the bats will live and sleep. This chamber needs to be air tight to ensure they stay warm enough. This is why caulking is required.
Caulk around the outside of the back wall, on the side to which you’ve attached the screening. Attach the furring strip that you’ve cut and press down firmly. Be sure to use the correct lengths of furring strip on the correct sides. (Hint: The 24″ strip goes on the the 24″ top edge.)
Once the sides are attached with caulking, screw them down tight. This should seal the chamber.
Caulk around the inside edge to make sure no cold air will be able to enter the chamber.
Paint the caulking inside the chamber, keeping things nice and dark for our little batty friends.
Now it’s time to attach the front. Caulking is again required to get a firm seal.
Attach the front top panel and screw it down.
Attach the bottom panel. Use caulking again, and screw it down. You should attach it to cover the ends of the furring strips. This will leave a small vent. This is important to allow air circulation into the bat chamber.
Caulk all the way around the outside of the house.
Now, paint anything not yet black, black.
Attach a small roof, if you’d like. It is an optional step, but I think it’s a good idea. It will prevent rain from running right down the center of the house, and it will give the house further stability.
Paint the roof, of course.
Finish it up with a few embellishments if you’d like. I wouldn’t put anything too colourful or large on it though – the idea is that is should be pretty inconspicuous, in order to make it an attractive hiding place for bats.
Happy Fathers Day, Dad. Hope we don’t drive you too batty. <3
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