Season of the Bats...

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OK, I admit it.  I hate bats. They're cute, they eat bugs, they are absolutely an integral part of our environment. And yet, when they are in flight, in my house, circling my head... I hate 'em. I'd never hurt one, but I want them out of my house. And yet, they have taken up residence.  And so far this season, a number of them have entered the house -- with interesting results for us all.

The first one was discovered in early July.  Imagine -- it's evening, you're reading or working on your computer and suddenly, you hear a scrabbling on the floor behind you.  You look back, and there are the cats patting a young bat on the back, making him wing-walk across the floor.  Luckily, our cats' hunting abilities are essentially nil.  (Check out an earlier blog regarding our cats: Cats are Great Mousers, Right?) The young bat was terrified, but unhurt.  

Springing to action, (that would be my wife, not me.  My only words were: "Donna! Bat!") we grabbed the cats and covered the bat with a plastic container and set him outside.  Then we noticed something:  he wasn't flying away.  There he was, crawling through the grass, heading for the underside of our car. Unfortunately, we now noticed our neighbors' cat was in the driveway, intently watching.  We chased him away, hoping to give the bat a chance to get away.  When we couldn't see the bat any more, we gave up for the night and went inside. (We found out from our neighbors later the cat had left them a present of a small bat around the time of this bat happening...)

Two days later, the bats upped the ante. Again, sitting quietly in the living room on a nice July night, we heard our cats freaking out in the next room.  The next thing we know, a bat flies into the room, swooping and zigzagging around our heads. Now, here's where it gets interesting.  There was the sound of a woman's shrieking... and it wasn't my wife... Told you I hate flying bats in the house.

Again, swallowing that panicky fear, we grab the cats and toss them in the bedroom.  They were having great fun, by the way, finding this new flying toy in the house. Then, cornering the bat in the kitchen, we open windows and it finally flies out into the night.  OK, we think, we've now got a plan to handle the bats -- just open the windows! Perfect!

Keep in mind, through all of this, we couldn't figure out where they were coming from.  The attic over the kitchen?  The attic over the front of the house?  Where were they coming from?  Well, while writing one of these blogs  in our library one day, I noticed a lot of chirping and scrambling sounds coming from the fireplace.  Sure enough, that's where they are roosting! Now we knew they have been dropping down past the closed flue in the fireplace.

Well, we had a few more visits -- laying in bed one night my wife and I were stunned to see one circling over our heads.  The cats thought it was great; we scrambled to capture it.  This time, opening a window didn't work, and it ended up roosting up inside the framework of an antique bureau we had to take apart to get it.  The next one ended up doing the same in a record cabinet. That time we emptied the old records out of the cabinet and walked the entire thing outside, where it flew away.

And then there was the last visitation a few days ago. Again, it's evening, the TV is on -- and the cats are going crazy. (We now call them our Bat Early Warning System... BEWS for short.) This one wasn't small and cute (yes, I guess I'm getting used to them); this one could have been used in a Dracula movie. Cats put away, we open all the windows in the kitchen, and keep it circling, hoping it 'sees' the windows.  No such luck. He just keeps swooping and circling (and even my wife gave a few shrieks this time) and he wouldn't leave until we opened the kitchen door.

So, we've been doing a lot of research on bats online. There's a lot of info out there, but we're discovering there's not a lot we can do right now, except live with them.  Once they migrate, we're going to have the chimney screened off, hoping to prevent these visitations next year.  In the mean time... we'll just have to rely on the BEWS...  (Wonder if I can get one of those research grants from the government on expanding the BEW System nationally... Yeah, someone in Washington will snap this one up!)

Bat resources online:

Maine Farmhouse Journal

News Article: Bats dying off across western Maine

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This page contains a single entry by JeffAdminist published on January 20, 2009 11:33 PM.

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