Table of contents:

City ecosystem: How to build an animal-friendly house
City ecosystem: How to build an animal-friendly house

Video: City ecosystem: How to build an animal-friendly house

Отличия серверных жестких дисков от десктопных
Video: How to create a wildlife friendly garden 2023, January

Create an urban ecosystem for animals! Because where we build our houses used to be nature. In many houses, animals seek shelter and a home and require a respectful neighborhood. How do you behave as a builder or modernizer in the city and what does the law require?

With an urban ecosystem, you can protect and preserve animal habitats. Many will wonder what could be behind it. Should home owners and builders jeopardize their personal living comfort because of nature conservation? And what should be protected there?

Buildings in the city as a habitat for animals

As animals' cultural followers, many animals have conquered the city as a habitat. Buildings provide shelter, parks and green areas provide food.

Birds such as the swift and the redstart have long been an integral part of our cities. The pygmy bat and the gray long-eared bat also populate the cities. These are by no means pests: they all exterminate insects en masse. For example, a single bat can eat more than a third of its body weight on mosquitoes each night.

These species all inhabit quite different areas of the house. Some bats have a small crack in the facade, others settle in colonies in attics. Swallows build their typical nests under roof overhangs and high archways, but they need muddy puddles nearby for their building materials. And house sparrows (sparrows) live in lively communities, for example under roof tiles or in green facades.

Buntspecht an Hauswand
Buntspecht an Hauswand

The great spotted woodpecker loves house corners. To him, an insulated facade sounds like a rotten tree. He plucks the insulation out, but finds no tasty insects. The noise is a burden, the perforated facade too, but woodpeckers are protected birds and must not be hunted or even killed. Photo: Werner Borok

Birds do not usually have to fear building damage. Most are very clean roommates and hardly notice. Annoying "legacies" of meal swallows and bats can easily be caught by fecal boards a bit below the nests.

All of them must not be disturbed by building measures (especially when breeding and raising the offspring). For some of them this means an absolute building ban, for others: keep your distance! Basically, building projects should be placed so that they are out of time because the nesting site is inhabited. Autumn and winter are ideal for migratory birds, and for some bats the change from winter to summer (and vice versa). But be careful: Even then, you should not simply remove the quarters, but must ensure that the animals find a replacement after their return that corresponds to their way of life.

Conservation of animals in the city

It is precisely the efforts to combat climate change that often put animal residents in dire straits. More and more roofs and facades with thermal insulation and airtight building envelopes are good for the climate and save valuable energy. With the disappearance of cavities and crevices, sparrows, jackdaws and the like are finding it increasingly difficult to find a place where they can nest and raise their young.


The sparrow lives all year round in the roof area, for example under tiles, on the downpipe, in blind boxes. The sparrow is one of the most adaptable birds, but its population is declining significantly. He's not picky about the nesting site either: a niche under the roof, an old swallow's nest, a nesting box - everything is welcome to the sparrow. / seree.t

That is why all building-breeding birds (except overgrown domestic pigeons) and bats are now under the special protection of the Federal Nature Conservation Act (BNatSchG § 44). For both new buildings and renovations, every client is therefore legally obliged to protect and preserve the living space of the roommates. However, this is relatively easy to integrate into planning and construction.

In any case, the regulations for species protection in construction are necessary. For centuries, even if we do not necessarily notice it, we have by no means lived alone in our dwellings. Not only owls, storks and kestrels populate as artificial "replacement rocks" for example church towers and farmsteads. Dozens of birds and bats are at home in our villages and towns.

Extract from the Federal Nature Conservation Act:

According to the regulations for specially protected and certain other animal and plant species from § 44 BNatSchG, it is prohibited to …

  1. to reproduce, catch, injure or kill wild animals of the specially protected species, or to take, damage or destroy their forms of development from nature,
  2. to significantly disturb wild animals of the strictly protected species and European bird species during the breeding, rearing, moulting, wintering and migration periods; there is a significant disturbance if the disturbance deteriorates the conservation status of the local population of a species,
  3. To remove, damage or destroy reproduction or resting places of wild animals of the specially protected species from nature,
  4. to take wild plants of the specially protected species or their forms of development from nature, to damage or destroy them or their locations.

However, exemptions from prohibition no.1 and no.3 apply to unavoidable impairments, provided the ecological function of the breeding and resting places continues to be fulfilled in the spatial context despite the construction project. (Section 44 Paragraph 5 BNatSchG).

Build in the city with respect for the animals

If you want to renovate the facade of your house or re-cover the roof, you should pay attention to such instructions and take a close look at the facade (especially in the eaves area and on downpipes) and the attic. In this way you can determine whether nesting material or faeces are present. The main focus of the settlement is, for example, loose stucco elements, cladding and ventilation holes. Cavities in fire walls are also popular. On the roof you have to watch out for loose-fitting bricks.

Warning: bat roosts are extremely difficult to find. Small fluttering men are sometimes trapped unnoticed during the renovation. "Since the animals are very inconspicuous, you should have the house examined in good time by the relevant experts before the renovation, " explains Sara Höweler of the climate protection campaign "House renovation - benefit" of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU).

So if you are unsure whether you have animal subtenants, ask an expert! He will then prepare an expert opinion on the status quo. This costs money, but saves penalties or construction stops. If the expert finds nesting sites, an application for exemption must be submitted to the lower nature conservation authority in your region. It is available from the building authorities on site. After the inspection, the authority issues instructions on when and how the construction work may be carried out. Because even if there is no breeding season, you cannot just build on it: Anyone who violates it commits an administrative offense. You should therefore discuss this with the architect when planning, in order to regulate the processes without delays.

Replacement quarters as an ecosystem for animals in the city

The alternative quarters they need are as diverse as the animals that live in them. "Each group of species has special requirements for their 'dwelling', which is why there are special nesting aids, " explains Jonas Lovens, a forest scientist from Bonn who advises builders and architects on questions of species and nature conservation in construction.

Nisthilfe am Dach, Fledermausziegel
Nisthilfe am Dach, Fledermausziegel

Attaching classic nesting boxes (left) for building breeders to the facade is neither expensive nor complicated. Building instructions are available from NABU, for example. Bat bricks provide shelter. Three to five of these bricks are sufficient for a roof area.


With some birds, nesting boxes, for example for sparrows, can be integrated into the insulation or brick wall so that you can only see a small entry hole from the outside. Other nesting boxes are partially installed, so that a protrusion remains and an entry from below (for example for swifts) is possible. They are glued or screwed with angles. Another option is provided by nesting boxes that are attached to the facade under the eaves. There you can also use cavities in the wooden construction, for example creating entry holes in the local bed. The birds then nest on the counter battens above the insulation film. For swallows you only get ready nests in a double pack, because they don't like living alone.

Bats also have year-round, summer and winter column quarters for inconspicuous installation in the facade or for curtains in front of the facade. For bats, roofs offer very simple solutions in the area of ​​roof coverings if there is an uninhabited roof space behind them, such as converted ventilation tiles or special bat tiles.

When deciding, you should not only be guided by optical considerations, but also by the recommendations of the nature conservation associations or the expert. There you can get good advice on where and how much such help is accepted at all. For example, a swallow does not settle at the eaves of a covered carport, and most bats love walls facing south or southeast. "In general, nesting aids are better accepted on the side away from the weather, " says Lovens, who advises consulting an expert in any case.

Potential soiling of facades and window sills from swallow nests and bat roosts can be avoided by placing fecal boards underneath. Anyone who fears that the starlings, which are quite unpopular because of the dirt they produce, is moving in, prefers boxes with entry holes from below or with starters.

These animals live in the house facades

Schwalben im Schwalbennest an der Hauswand
Schwalben im Schwalbennest an der Hauswand

Swallows often build their nests on the outside of the facade under the eaves or on the balcony.

Photo: Fotolia / Erni

The common swift stays in the roof area from mid-April to the end of August, for example under tiles, in the verge or in the masonry area. The swifts spend almost their entire life in the air. Eating, sleeping, mating - everything takes place in flight. They only briefly leave their element for breeding. Acrobats in the air combine 200, 000 kilometers a year with the characteristic high-pitched reputation.

The martin builds its mud nests on the outside of the facade, under the eaves or on the balcony. The martin (and the barn swallow) are closely linked to human dwellings. They build artful nests out of clay and are considered good luck charms - no wonder, since they announce their return from the end of winter.

The redstart lives from mid-March to mid-October in facade niches and in the roof area. The redstart originally comes from the mountains, but exchanged it for city life centuries ago. He is back from the south in March.

The house sparrow lives all year round in the roof area, for example under tiles, on the downpipe, in blind boxes. The sparrow is one of the most adaptable birds, but its population is declining significantly. He is also not particular about the nesting site: a niche under the roof, an old swallow's nest or a nesting box. The sparrow, who likes to take a bath in the dust for care, is welcome.

The gray long-eared hiding in the attic from mid-March to mid-October, freely in the ridge or in beam holes and crevices. The gray long ear and the brown long ear can hardly be distinguished. Both heat-loving medium-sized bats are characterized by long ears. The gray long-eared bat is considered to be very local, but also prone to failure, which is why you have to be very careful with your quarters.

graues Langohr
graues Langohr

The gray long-eared bat is considered to be very local, but also prone to failure, which is why you have to take good care of your quarters.

Photo: Jana Lübbert

The pygmy bat hibernates from mid-November to April in cracks in the wall, behind shutters or wall coverings, in roller shutter boxes. The pygmy bat weighs a maximum of eight grams and is only 5.1 centimeters tall. It is the smallest of the 25 native species. Your summer and winter quarters are only a few kilometers apart.

The broad-winged bat hides from October to March to April in the roof beams, in warm crevices, for example behind parapets and gutters. The broad-winged bat is about the size of a blackbird. It is one of the three major bat species in Germany. She likes to hunt in parks, avenues and gardens in slow flight (hardly faster than 30 km / h). Your winter and summer quarters can be in different places in the same building.

Contact person and information sources

Hinweisschild Naturschutzgebiet dreieckig weiß/grün mit Raubvogel
Hinweisschild Naturschutzgebiet dreieckig weiß/grün mit Raubvogel

Local building authorities can give you information about what you need to consider when it comes to protecting species in new buildings and renovations.

Photo: Fotolia / Bjrn Wylezich

Local building authorities

The local building authorities know what to do when it comes to protecting species in new buildings and renovations. There is often also very good information / forms online for the relevant forms for a species protection test. The building authorities often have lists of experts (biologists, forest scientists, ornithologists) for the report.

Lower nature conservation authority

The nature conservation authorities monitor the implementation of the Federal Nature Conservation Act, the State Nature Conservation Laws and the ordinances enacted. The structure of the authorities differs between the individual federal states. However, the lower nature conservation authorities of the counties and urban districts are responsible for the species protection test on the building.

Biological stations and nature conservation associations

So-called biological stations are committed to nature conservation locally and regionally. There you will find contact persons for the expert opinion on species protection. Large nature conservation organizations such as BUND, NABU and DBU also help to find information and experts.

Popular by topic