BATS LIVE HERE

August 22nd, 2008 4 P.M.

NIGHT SHADOWS

It was a hot summer season so far, and this particular day was no different. It was a lazy, stay in the house and keep cool afternoon. My husband had been home from work for about an hour.
After we discuss our day's events, Joe likes to sit in his big ole comfy chair, and work on the daily newspaper crossword puzzle. Today was no different, and I was sitting on the sofa writing long overdue letters to friends.
We both have full view of natures beauty; wildlife that roams the open field; or birds that visit the feeders; through a large picture window on one side of the room, and patio doors that lead to the enclosed back porch. The porch is surrounded by screened in glass windows from ceiling to floor.

I was busy writing, my mind absorbed in thoughts, my eyes occasionally gazing out through the glass doors, daydreaming I suppose.
Suddenly I saw something drop, and then clutch onto the window screen. At first I thought it was a bird but birds don't cling to screens.
It's shape didn't look right for a bird. Then it took wing, but only from the screen, straight up underneath the roof.
I said to Joe, "I think I just saw a bat drop down and clutch the screen". He said "it couldn't be a bat.
Bats are nocturnal".

It is a known fact that bats live in caves and mines. We also know In summer the little brown bat, native to Pennsylvania, inhabits trees, bat houses, and buildings. Less frequently colonies form beneath tar paper, siding, shingles, or other similar sheltered spots.

Please let me take you back in time, to a delightful cool evening, two summers ago. It had just started to turn dusk, so we sat outside on the deck, breathing in the fresh air and admiring the beautiful flowers.
One can't help but look up, and see the sunset blaze across the skies. Or watch the majestic trees softly sway in the breeze.
We noticed swooping shadows, zooming and zipping around the trees and realized they were bats. They were fascinating.
Even more so, quizzically to me, would be to watch where these nocturnal mammals light from in the evening, and retreat to in the early morning.

Some mornings before dawn breaks, I would get up at four AM with Joe and make him breakfast. When he left for work I would then watch
to see if any bats were still flying around. And how close they were to the house.
For several mornings I watched them flying in under the roof. I began watching them intently,
and then one morning, I saw where they nestled in for the day.
One by one they swooped underneath the outer corner of back porch roof, where there was a narrow opening in the frame work.
In all there were five bats to be exact, squeezing into the small crevice.

Now fast forward to today: I was just so curious and also concerned that it might have been a bird I saw fall, maybe injured. I went on the back porch but did not see any bird laying on the ground.
Then I looked up into the corner of the roof where we knew the bats lived. There clinging to the wooden frame work all huddled together, were at least four bats.
They were pushing and shoving each other around. Joe came out to see the activity and then we went on line and started to do some reading about bat habitats and habits.
But first I just needed to try to get some pictures. With camera in my very quivering hands, I slowly opened the window and screen.
We could tell they had very good hearing, and I was just hoping none of them
would drop off and come in the window. At this time the film has not been developed yet.

What interesting creatures they are.
In a summer colony the bats remain alert on warm days. And if it gets too hot in their domain, they will come out and cling to the sides of the area around their domain,
crawling about, climbing over each other and bicker.
A large colony can be heard as far away as 100 feet. Toward evening the bats become more active until a constant squeaking can be heard as they gather about the exits.
However this was just a small group, and when they would begin to emerge at late dusk, we would watch them begin their nightly flights. Sometimes they would fly in front of our motion lights which of course came on, and we could see the bats snatching insects.

Little brown bats breed in the fall. Births occur from May to July, depending on what state they live in. A single young is born each year. What Joe and I do not know as of yet, is if this particular bat family leaves in late fall, to go back to the caves, or if they stay here year around.

There are caves about forty miles from us. One of them is Woodward Cave.
Also there is America's only all water, spring fed Penns Cave. This particular cave is seen by tour "boat" only.

Here are sites for you to visit each cave.
Woodward Cave

Penns Creek Cave

Joe and I do hope you have enjoyed this story and learned a little something about a winged mammal who is a very important part of nature's cycle. In the state of Pennsylvania, it is illegal to kill bats. They are a protected species.

Click Here-Video Of Abandoned Baby Bat Rescued

Read about White Nose Syndrome killing bats in
many states including Pennsylvania where we live.
Written by Michael who lives in Kentucky and is
a volunteer with the Spelelogical Society.


Written by ęBarbara L Chambers Carter aka Bluejay12 ~

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