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
Write what you know. Has anyone ever given you that advice? I have spent some time thinking this over and wondering, just what did Madeleine L’Engle know about time travel? And what in the world provoked Ray Bradbury and that creepy carousel? So heck with the old chestnut “write what you know.” Today I am writing about what I don’t know. I don’t know why people take to the couch or bed. Call me insensitive but no matter how down in the black books I get, a quick walk or a punishing hike seems to straighten my world out. Get off your ass Read on →
There may be treasures in your attic or in some seldom-visited closet. You can never tell. We stumbled upon quite a treasure the other day, something we did not know was there. It was a large-format book, in a box of textbooks and other literature, probably from one of our children. Going through this box to help re-stock our Little Free Library, here was this older book with 86 stunning black-and-white photographs. The book was titled Say Is This The U.S.A. and the authors were Novelist Erskine Caldwell (born in Moreland, Ga.) and Margaret Bourke-White, the famous photographer. My initial question was why Read on →
April 25 was the one-day of the year Ashley met up with his old army buddies. He left early in the morning to march down the main street of the town and then visit the Returned Servicemen’s Club. It was a long day, the only day of the year he drank alcohol because his stomach had been ulcerated by chlorine and mustard gas a long time before. At the end of the day he would be violently ill but said it was worth the agony and the inevitable lecture from his wife. He stopped at our house on his way h Read on →
I have a young friend named Gus. He is in second grade at school, just starting out in life, and doesn’t hold back in letting us know what he is thinking. I have another friend named Gus who is ninety-four and confined to bed in a nursing home. He has dementia, so we don’t know what he is thinking, but he responds with a smile when someone talks to him. My older friend Gus hasn’t met the younger Gus and doesn’t know who I am anymore. When I telephone the nursing home to ask if he needs anything the nurses are rel Read on →