- Important: All passwords were reset on 06/15/11. Old passwords will no longer work. Click here to retrieve your password.
- Subscribe to Our Free Dewsletter
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
"Old Age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you've got to start young." --Fred Astaire It’s finally happened to me...I’m now the Biblical threescore and ten years old. I went to bed after a great meal, wonderful evening with my ever-loving wife Jody, some funny conversation, a little mystery on the telly and woke up...well, I didn’t feel any different. I did wake up, though, which is a good thing. Aside from that, I woke up early as usual and as old men are wont to do, didn’t change my technique of putting my right leg first into my shorts, Read on →
"... if you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in man-made global warming ... You must be either agnostic or atheistic to believe than man controls something he can't create." -- Rush Limbaugh Conflict between faith and science is as old as science itself. In 1543, Copernicus's great work, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, laid the groundwork for a new model of the cosmos, with the sun, rather than the Earth, at its center. Attempting to preemptively defuse the controversy the new worldview would unleash, Copernicus's publisher anonymously attached a preface. Addressed to the pope, it stated boldly Read on →
She somewhat resembled the retired but not really old men who can’t wait to don their big blue hats and disappear into the basement for long periods to “work on” their elaborate model train sets. Like them, she could easily slip into a fantasy world where objects of interest were always smaller and at times had to be willed to be seen. She could spend hours gathering moss and twigs to build fairy houses and would then sit quietly nearby waiting for occupants. Little did she suspect that if you make them, they don’t necessarily come. And she was nearing forty. Read on →
That hawkish Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have once again blasted President Barack Obama for an insufficiently bellicose foreign policy barely qualifies as news. Of course they did. That is what they do. The scorpion always stings the frog halfway across the stream. What is worth noting is the rationale offered they present for a much riskier American foreign policy. The August 28th press release from the un-dynamic duo is a complaint about President Obama not doing enough to punish President Putin for violating Ukrainian sovereignty. Seems they are outraged that the President of Russia dares to assist beleaguered Read on →