As we move from autumn to winter, temperatures drop and the weather becomes more extreme – the landscape seems to quieten as much of our country’s wildlife adapt their behaviour to cope with the seasonal changes.

Different species have different mechanisms to cope with these environmental challenges. Plants enter periods of dormancy as sunlight hours are reduced and temperatures are too low to grow. Different insects overwinter in differing stage of their life cycles – some as adults, some as eggs, pupae or larvae – all minimising activity to save energy. Many mammals respond to this accordingly.
Bats respond to the lack of food by entering periods of dormancy, to save energy and conserve any fat reserves they have built up since the spring.

For the Grey Long-eared Bat project, the period of cold dormancy provides an opportunity. This is the time when we work on wildflower meadow restoration and creation. Wildflower meadows are of great importance to Grey Long-eared Bats, as well as much other wildlife. These habitats provide insect food for bats, as well as providing for other wildlife, such as mammals and birds and allowing pollinators to thrive and complete their life cycles. Many native wildflowers require different processes in order to germinate. Some require scarification (gentle abrasion) and some require vernalisation (a period of chilling) so by sowing seeds in the late autumn and into the winter, this allows these processes to occur, through livestock grazing and drops in temperature. With a little wildflower seed and appropriate management, the areas we are working on will become wildflower meadows of the future, securing foraging habitats for Grey Long-eared Bats and other wildlife.


Craig Dunton

Project Officer - Grey Long-eared Bat.



Would you like to help these incredible species? There are numerous ways in which you can:

  • Why not volunteer for Back from the Brink? Check out our events page for opportunities near you.
  • Help us to spread the word of this species, and the others we will be helping over the next 3 years, by sharing our message across our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Follow us: @naturebftb.
  • Finally - help support the work we do across England by donating. Our impact will be greater with your help.