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Roost site selection and roosting ecology of forest dwelling bats in southern British Columbia

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Canadian Journal of Zoology





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We used radiotelemetry to examine the roost-site preferences of four species of tree-roosting bats (Eptesicus fuscus, Lasionycteris noctivagans, Myotis evotis, and M. volans) in southern British Columbia, Canada, by radio-tracking

bats to their day roosts. We found a total of 21 roost trees: 14 roosts were beneath loose bark, 5 were in cavities excavated by woodpeckers, and 2 were in natural cavities. Entrance height increased with tree height, but roost entrances tended to be situated below the level of the canopy. Of the 22 tree and site variables examined, only 3 significantly discriminated between roost trees and available trees: tree height, distance to the nearest available tree, and percent canopy closure. Bats preferred tall trees associated with low percent canopy closure and a short distance to the nearest available tree. Bats roosted in western white pine, and to a lesser extent ponderosa pine and western larch, in intermediate stages of decay more often than would be expected at random. Bats switched roosts frequently. The distance between Subsequent roost trees was short, suggesting a degree of fidelity to a particular group of trees or area of forest. The number of days of rain during the roosting period significantly influenced the number of days spent in a particular roost, and thus ambient conditions may restrict the frequency with which bats can switch roosts.