About the program

Welcome!

Image: C. Keely

Image: C. Keely

The Melbourne bat box monitoring program is run by a community of bat researchers and volunteers interested in the conservation of hollow-dependent microbats, and the education of the wider public about the ecology and values of these fascinating creatures.

There are four sites across Melbourne where we have installed boxes or tubes, which are monitored on a monthly or bi-montly basis:

  • Wilson Reserve, in Ivanhoe (map). Next check: 14 July 2018, 12.00pm. Meet at the Irvine rd. carpark (Melways map 31 G10).
  • Burke Road Billabong, in Kew East (map). Next check: 14 July 2018, 12.00pm.  Meet at the Irvine rd. carpark (Melways map 31 G10).
  • Organ Pipes National Park, in Keilor North (map). Next check: 24th June 2018, 12.00pm.

New volunteers are always welcome – even if you just want to pop along to see a critter you’ve never seen before. Please visit our “What to expect” page prior to your visit.

Tally of the number of individuals banded or microchipped so far:

The program is run on an entirely voluntary basis by keen individuals in their own time.

Although we are a cast of constantly changing characters, Robert Bender has been running the Organ Pipes National Park and Wilson Reserve monitoring programs for many years now, and can be contacted at redneb.trebor@gmail.com if you have any questions about these. The Burke Rd. Billabong nesting tubes and chainsaw cavities (http://brbreserve.org/) are overseen by Stanley Barker, contactable at barker_sv@yahoo.com.au.

The key contact for the monitoring at Gresswell Reserve and the La Trobe University Wildlife Sanctaury is Steve Griffiths, who has also been involved in the program for many years and can be reached at S.Griffiths@latrobe.edu.au

Other individuals involved include Dr. Lindy Lumsden from the Arthur Rylah Institute and Dr. Pia Lentini, Dr. Lisa Godinho and Casey Visintin from the University of Melbourne. We are aided by the Friends of the Organ Pipes National Park, the Friends of Wilson Reserve, and the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary.

We occasionally seek grants to hep fund the replacement and repair of the boxes, and the purchasing of processing and other scientific equipment.

To date grants from the following organisations have made the project possible:

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10 Responses to About the program

  1. Hi, I’ll be in Melbourne February 18 – March 2. Are you planning any field trips I could join? Thank you.

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    • Pia Lentini says:

      Hi Vladimir – unfortunately at the moment we’ve just got the box checks pencilled in for the 11th Feb and 3rd March, so it looks like you’ll just miss us! Thanks for your interest in the program anyway 🙂

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      • dinets says:

        Well, thanks! I hope it’s not my last trip to Melbourne. Please let me know if the dates change 🙂

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      • dinets says:

        Are the bat boxes at Shepherd’s Bush Park yours? I saw a few bats emerging at sunset, but couldn’t identify them with any certainty; I wonder if you know what species they are.

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  2. Pia Lentini says:

    Those boxes aren’t part of the monitoring program per se but are part of Steve Griffith’s PhD research – when he last checked them they were being occupied by Gould’s wattled bats 🙂

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    • dinets says:

      I am pretty sure there’s more than one species there now. I got some photos of bats emerging at dusk, but they are poor quality because I didn’t want to use external flash.

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  3. Erin says:

    Hi, I’m curious if there are any programs on the southern Mornington Peninsula? I’d like to learn more, and I’d love to install some boxes around my house in Rye but am unsure if our trees are suitable (moonah, wattle, tea tree mainly). Thanks!

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    • Pia Lentini says:

      Hi Erin – not that I’m aware of, but it would be worth getting in touch with your local Friends group to find out. I know the shire also have quite an active nest box program, so they might also have some information prepared for residents. You generally want to install boxes as high up as possible to allow the bats adequate room to take off and so they’re not vulnerable to predators, so I suspect acacias and melaleucas may not be tall or girthy enough. This “boxes for bats” info sheet that we prepared for the bat society may also be handy: http://ausbats.org.au/bat-fact-sheets/4562894228

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  4. Eleanor says:

    Hi, just wondering if some of your boxes are PVC piping or if there has been any success with designs for PVC pipe bat roosts?

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    • Pia Lentini says:

      Hi Eleanor – there are PVC tubes at the Burke Rd. Billabong site but they don’t seem to get used as much as the boxes. Typically, a couple will have one or two individuals, but I think we’ve only gotten Gould’s wattled bats in them to date. Cheers – Pia

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