Bats select buildings in clearings in Białowieża Primeval Forest
Species dominance structure and selection of buildings by bats were studied during the breeding season in areas surrounding the well-preserved stands of Białowieża Primeval Forest (BPF), potentially offering an abundance of tree cavities. Searches for bats were carried out during daylight hours and at evening emergence. Thirty eight of the 238 buildings surveyed from May to August, 2002 were used by 708 bats. Only three of the 12 resident species of bats occupied buildings, amongst these Vespertilio murinus and Eptesicus serotinus were the most common, found in 16 and 15 buildings, respectively. Pipistrellus pygmaeus was located in two buildings. This suggests that limited access to old-growth forests (potentially rich in tree cavities) may not be a crucial factor leading to the occupation of buildings by those species. Selection of buildings by bats was further investigated by comparing 14 characteristics of those buildings occupied by bats to those unused. Six of these characteristics were shown to have a significant influence. Using Akaike's Information Criterion (AICc), the most important categories for selection were roof lining and building size. This would suggest that the criterion for the selection of buildings by these species is based not only on its location but on these key structural attributes.
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