We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
Last night at sunset I watched 20 million bats vortex toward the sky from Bracken Cave in Texas. Actually, I lost count after about a million, so I’m just taking our Bat guide’s word on this.
Then, this morning at dawn I watched them all (I guess) dive-bomb at 40 miles-an-hour back into their cave. The sky was raining bats, interspersed with owl and hawk visits to the breakfast buffet. Oh, and a few skunks & raccoons were waiting below in case the some of the little Mexican free-tails crashed on re-entry.
The exit and re-entry sounded, smelled & felt very different — dusk was noisy, and all those wings were pushing gusts of their “unique” smell up from their bedroom/bathroom to us in waves. In contrast, just before dawn we started to hear the quiet little zooms coming from all over the sky, and when the swarms came, sounding like a distant pack of bees. Until the sky got light enough, we just heard them, or spied them through combat strength night vision goggles.
So many questions – How did they find their way back home from 60 miles away? What are they eating now that so much of Texas has burned up? Why do all the mamas & babies live in this cave, and the males and nonreproductive females live elsewhere? Actually, I think we all had answers to that one.
Many of my friends want to know why I did this. I wonder why everyone wouldn’t want to see the where largest concentration of mammals lives, and how they get in and out of their house every day.
I went to witness the bats because I was invited by my friend Dianne, who works for the Bat Conservation International (BCI) in Austin, and rescues and rehabs bats at home with her husband Lee.
She’s not alone in her bat love. Last month Austin hosted their 7th annual Batfest, which coincides with a year-long world celebration of The year of the Bat (proclaimed by the United Nations). This was started because (BCI) in Austin, EuroBats, UNEP Convention of Migratory Species (CMS) in Germany, and dozens of others organizations want to “raise global awareness about bats, bat conservation and the unique role bats’ play in maintaining our environment. around the world.”
So, I witnessed something marvelous today, something that’s been happening since way before humans. Just like witnessing a birth, and wanting to tell the world about the majesty of nature, I needed to tell you, in case you didn’t know what’s happening in the skies over your head every night.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
I once worked for an abusive boss, a man who proved impossible to please. Congenitally mean, and though he wore no eye-patch, he had all of the charm, charisma and management style of your average, garden-variety Bond villain. After three days on the new job, I knew I'd made a mistake. A year on the job, my misery factor was so high, I prayed (I was a church-goer in those days) one of us would either get a better job and move on -- or that one of us would die, though preferably not me! About two years in, when nothing developed either wa Read on →
An old Jewish curse says, "May Your Life Be Filled With Lawyers." Better lawyers than bedpans. Unlike actors in televised medical fables, real people who work at hospitals, while sometimes angelic, are mainly natural-born Homo sapiens, just like the rest of us –- part devil, part saint, but all too human. They mostly mean well, but many days, they just do not give a flip. And some, like former President Dubya Bush, obviously chose the wrong line of work. The most frightening aspect of any serious illness is loosing control of your being to other people; creatures just like yourself. Folks who still think t Read on →
Planning a trip to Michigan, we had heard about the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, so that was our first stop in a week’s trip to Michigan. It is adjacent to Greenfield Village, which we strolled around one morning, then took in the Museum in the afternoon. Both are stellar places to visit. The Village was created by Henry Ford to showcase many of America’s original historic homes. There’s Ford’s home where he grew up, the home of the Wright Brothers, disassembled and moved to the site, and Thomas Edison’s laboratory. Real-size historic railroad engines move on a circular track around the park, Read on →
Opp, Ala. – For the first time since announcing his run for president, Donald Trump spoke in tongues on Monday and told evangelicals gathered at a tent revival and barbecue he plans to get baptized in a creek before the next presidential debate. The announcement at a rural Alabama Baptist church caught GOP observers by surprise as well as evangelicals gathered to hear the usual Trump stump speech denouncing Mexicans and insulting women. “We had pot luck and when I first heard him I thought he was choking on a piece of chicken, I’ve got to be honest with you,” said Fred William Read on →