Bats and bluebirds in south Alabama will soon have a better home thanks to volunteers from Alabama Power.
More than 20 employees of Plant Barry in Mobile recently assembled 20 bluebird boxes and 10 bat boxes to be deployed in the Upper Delta Wildlife Management Area, a forested floodplain the Alabama, Mobile and Tensaw rivers run through. Eric Lynn, a senior engineer at the plant, says the habitat project was inspired by a conversation earlier this year between employees of Alabama Power and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR).
“We started the relationship with them in 2019 when we built some duck boxes for them and installed them,” Lynn said. “We reached back out to them at the beginning of the year and this is a project that they proposed.”
The project is part of ADCNR’s Eastern Bluebird Nest Box Campaign and its Alabama Bat Monitoring and Conservation Program, which seeks to manage, protect, conserve and enhance the 16 species of cave and tree-dwelling bats that live in Alabama. Lynn and other volunteers from Alabama Power’s Barry Environmental Stewardship Team gathered July 2 to assemble the boxes.
“It’s exciting,” Lynn said. “The Upper Delta Wildlife Management Area is relatively close to the plant. It’s in an area close to our neighborhoods. To support our community is incredible.”
The boxes are designed to give bats and bluebirds a more stable environment to help them thrive and grow their population. This also provides free pest control since bats consume millions of mosquitoes and other insects each evening.
“They eat a ton of mosquitoes and other pests,” Lynn said. “Bats are definitely our friend.”
Lynn said he and his team plan to deploy the boxes in a few weeks, then maintain them and look for more ways to help ADCNR.
“The plan is to have this relationship continue far into the future because we don’t want to just put these boxes out and leave them to fall to pieces,” Lynn said. “We will make plans to return in the future and maintain these boxes, clean them out and make repairs as needed.”