bats in the...belfry?

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Well, we surely don't have a belfry, or any structure attached to our property that could possibly support a belfry. But we did, indeed, have bats. Don’t get excited; if you like bats, I am not going to tell tales about being afeard of them, having romantic concepts about them, or cooking them (does anyone actually do that? The answer is a resounding “yes” on the web –I Googled “cooked bat meat”- and was more than a little surprised by the number of valid hits. Australia seems to be the hungriest for them). I do admire the fragile creatures and I love them for one significant attribute: they eat mosquitoes! Okay, you mosquito-lovers out there, please leave the room. I admit here and now that I despise mosquitoes. I don't like slapping them on my exposed skin to subsequently see somebody’s (?) blood smeared on my flesh, I abhor the relentless itching, and I typically awake the next day with very unpleasant results from nocturnal scratching at my afflicted skin. My tween has a worse reaction, and gets quarter-sized welts from each bite. Hubby preaches the impossible "just don't scratch" prose, which it is ineffective when you are asleep. I can hardly keep myself from wanting to tear the afflicted appendage off when the itching starts, so his advice stinks!

So, you now may see where I am coming from. I like bats. I find the creatures fascinating. When we discovered a colony of them nesting behind a second-storey shutter late this summer, we did not really mind too much. Yes, their guano was smelly and required hosing down regularly. And yes, when hubby stepped off the back porch to march off to work at 5 a.m. he was "swooped" as he called it, but the service they perform far outweighs the negatives. It also gave our outdoor cat, Tiggr, some great exercise as he vainly attempted to catch them. Since he’s an experienced hunter, his efforts were colossal. I wish I could have gotten some photos of that. (And the hubby-dodging-swooping.)

The day the bats came out was precipitated by the house painters’ arrival. He came to remove the shutters. He was warned about the bats. We were thrilled that he wished them no harm. I even toyed with the idea of buying (or building) a bat house to locate at the back of the barn in hopes that they might move there when shooed form their nest. But never-the-less, as the painter pounded the shutters with his gloved hand, the bats flew out. Some came within 12 inches of my head as I looked up hoping to see their translucent wings. I think they are amazing. I also think the painter is amazing (read: ballsy) for not falling off the ladder while the bats, disoriented and abruptly flushed out of their nest, streamed out from behind the shutters right past his head. It was about 14 feet to the ground below. I could not think of a way I would break his fall without getting smushed myself, if it should occur. But as we collectively watched and counted the retreating bats, (12 in all) I remained amazed. And pleased that no harm came to them. One very small one fell directly to the driveway, never opening it’s wings to fly. Tom picked it up in his thick gloves and I was able to get a picture. Alas, the first camera I ran to grab from the house (1 of 4!) was low on juice, so I only squeezed off one precious shot. Here it is:batman.JPG

The fragile creature was laid on the woodpile and disappeared 30 minutes later.

I was looking for them soaring over the driveway, longing for them, this evening, in the cool night air, while sitting on the porch after dinner. I do hope they remain close by, I am sure there is plentiful food here, since I sport a new mosquito bite or three every evening, and I wish them well. Plus a belfry.

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1 Comments

"the tween" said:

aww u never showed me that its sooo cute!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Carol published on September 10, 2006 8:04 PM.

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