BAT BOXES INSTALLED BY TRCA IN SAM SMITH PARK NEAR WETLAND POND Ontario’s resident bat species have suffered tremendous losses over the last decade – their declines are largely linked to White-nose Syndrome in addition to habitat loss, collisions with wind turbines and pesticide use. Within the Province of Ontario, four species of resident bats are currently considered species at risk (SAR), this includes the Little Brown Myotis, Northern Myotis, Eastern Small-footed Myotis and Tri-colored Bat – all of which are listed as endangered.
Little Brown Myotis, Northern Myotis and Tri-colored Bats are the most likely species to be encountered within the City of Toronto. All 3 species have been observed between 1999-2019 within the City of Toronto. Currently, capture or observation of these species can be challenging due to dramatically depressed populations and their cryptic nature.
Habitat loss is one cause of decline for these species that can be artificially augmented, the loss of forest cover and accessible anthropogenic roost locations (barns, attics, sheds) has increased with urban intensification. When natural or manmade resources are removed, absent or limited; artificial roost structures may contribute to population growth by providing suitable conditions to support maternity colonies of at risk bat species. Supporting and increasing the recruitment of juvenile bats into the breeding population is vital to maintaining and restoring our native bat populations. The proposed bat habitat installations are located to provide ideal maternity roosting sites. They offer easy access to forest, water sources and productive foraging grounds. They have relatively open surroundings but are in close proximity for forest edge. Relatively open, meadow habitat common through much of the southern portion of the park, combined with adjacent wetland and waterfront habitat should provide excellent foraging resources to support productive maternity roosts.
Photo of one of the houses by Wayne Renaud