Article by Brooklyn Hare, Natural Areas Conservation Officer, Sunshine Coast Council
Hello again! Please enjoy both the first and final edition of flying-fox community news for 2022.
Wow what a busy year it has been, especially for our furry friends, so we apologise for the lack of updates.
You might be wondering what the flying-foxes have been up to all year?
Well, we’d love to give you a recap, and tell you all about what the flying-foxes of the Sunshine Coast typically get up to all year long.
The Little Reds!!
Tis’ the season of the Little Reds! Arriving fashionably, yet predictively late to the end-of-year festivities you may have noticed the little red flying-fox have joined us in late November-early December as they do most years. This species of flying-fox, unlike the black and grey-headed flying-fox species LOVE to party, and generally only visit the Sunshine Coast from this time until around April to celebrate Christmas, New Years AND Easter! Oh, and they may be here to mate and feed on the Pink Bloodwoods that flower at this time of year too.
So, you might want to crank up the Christmas carols… These little guys may be the smallest flying-fox species in Australia, but they are also mighty loud. Unlike their grey and black cousins, little red flying-foxes are the noisiest, and travel in larger numbers (sometimes in the tens of thousands or more). We understand this may be overwhelming, but thankfully we get some reprieve with the Little Reds disappearing just as quickly as they arrived to fly back to western and central Queensland to give birth and rear their young.
Make sure you stay in the loop and keep an eye out for our upcoming Flying-fox Community News to find out where on the Sunshine Coast the little reds decided to party.
Bats are friends, not foes
If you didn’t already know about our native neighbours who also share the beautiful land of the Sunshine Coast, you now know what to typically expect for the upcoming year. If you live along the coast or near a known roost site, there are some measures you can take to make living with flying-foxes a little easier.
- Bring your washing in at night
- Park your cars under shelter
- Keep doors and windows closed at dawn and dusk to reduce disturbance during fly-in and fly-out.
- Remove or cover fruit and flowers on fruiting and flowering trees on your property
- Keep dogs and cats inside at night and away from roost sites. Keep pet food and water indoors.
- Move quietly near roost sites to avoid disturbance – they make more noise when disturbed
There are also some simple, non-harmful deterrents which may be of assistance on your property, such as:
- Creating a visual/sound/smell barrier with fencing or hedges with plants that do not produce edible fruit or nectar-exuding flowers
- Planting a buffer of low vegetation such as shrubs, providing a screen between your yard and roosting/feeding trees
- Placing predator decoys (e.g. owls) or reflective/shiny deterrents (e.g. CDs or aluminium foil strips) on verandas or in trees
- Keeping food or habitat trees trimmed
- When landscaping, plant fruit or habitat trees away from your home (or don’t use these plants at all).
Flying-foxes are the most important species for plant pollination, meaning they play an extremely important role in helping keep our native forests of the Sunshine Coast healthy. So now, more than ever, we need to find ways to co-exist with these incredibly important native neighbours.