08 January 2010

Save the Bats

A recent article in the Burlington Free Press highlights the growing alarm over the catastrophic spread of a fungal infection which is killing bats at an alarming rate. I have been following this story with a sense of growing dread over the past year. In some cases, up to 90 % of some species have been killed either directly, or indirectly, by this illness.

I like bats. During long summer nights in Maine I was fascinated by swarms of bats flying around our front yard, swooping low to catch insects and dipping into the pond for water. Their mixture of aerobatics and night navigation was always fun to watch- as was the effect these animals had on my older sisters who were convinced that their long hair was a natural target for them. I guess I developed compassion for them when they would get inside the house. Instead of harming them, my mom used to catch them in a fishing net and release them back outside. Bats made good neighbors.

I recently took a break from building woodpecker houses and built a bat house for my sister's farm. I'll post some pictures of the construction of it in a few days. Life has gone full circle as the girl who was once terrorized by these creatures now wants a roost for them on her property. If you want more information about bats, how to build a bat house or ongoing research into the white nose syndrome that threatens them, visit Bat Conservation International here.

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