BCM Double Chamber Bat House DIY Kit
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My kit included two pieces of 3/8 plywood - roughed. About 8”x2” What are they intended for?
The two pieces of wood you are referring to are “pup ledges”. Nursing females will leave their young in the roost for short periods to forage for insects. Although nursing pups rarely loose their grip, it does sometimes happen when they awkwardly move around within the bat house during this time or are knocked loose by other bats in the colony. The pieces of wood act as a small ledge on either side of the baffle to give the pups something to grab onto if they lose their grip at the top of the bat house. Please refer to the PDF assembly manual for instructions about attaching the Pup Ledges. We offer another product called a Pup Catcher as an accessory if you observe a chronic pup issue. This is much larger, more robust "basket" intended to go below the entire bat house. Pup Ledges in contrast are small wooden ledges inside the bat house between certain baffles.
I live in Northen Maryland. Do you recommend installing a pup-catcher with this box?
Usefulness of pup catchers is debatable. Some swear by them while others have witness bats simply refuse to stay in the bat house regardless of the pup catcher. The assumption is something is inheriently wrong with the pups and they will not survive with or without a pup catcher. One theroy is that a bat's first young is subjected to an inordinate amount of pesticide buildup in the mother, and makes the first young less likely to survive. Regardless of the reason why pups fall out of bat houses, some kind of "pup catcher" isn't a bad idea, as long as it doesn't inadvertantly obstruct the flight path into the bat house. Pup catchers are simple screens that extend down from the landing plate. There is a DIY solution here: https://batworld.org/bat-house-pup-catcher/ that we like because it is adaptable to whatever bat house or roost you are having problems with. Note the “pup catcher” and it’s parts will deteriorate over time and should be considered something that is a temporary fixture to your problem roost. You might consider only installing it when pups are around... May thru July.