When I was a teen, my mom would take me to Smithsonian lectures on wolves, raptors, bees, bats, etc.
After attending a lecture on bats, we apparently had an “in” with the speaker as I found myself at the “after-party” dinner with him (I use the word “party” loosely!). I was the only kid at the table. The conversation seemed to center mostly on current events, but all I wanted to do was ask the guy about vampire bats. I was shy and just listened to the conversation, not understanding much of it.
When I was a bit of an older teen, as GREAT luck would have it, a bat decided to make its home in my bedroom window between the half-open screen and my window. I got to watch the bat leave at dusk- and it would wake me up sometimes around midnight when it would come back from its first feeding of the night. The bat would disappear each winter, but for years it would come back to my window each spring.
So, now I’m a grown-up and I have my very own bat box.
I installed it a few years ago. For at least a year or 2, it remained vacant. Then, I got my first resident. I was really excited. And then, another! Over the years, I had as many as 6-7 bats (including babies).
Like many species of animals in this day and age, bats have become threatened. For them, the threat is a disease called white-nose fungus. This has caused me great concern.
However, I am happy to report that this year was quite the bumper crop of bats at the Nash residence. My first clue was the piles of guano that sat on my patio- so much so, that I put my flower pots underneath the bat box as I hear it makes great fertilizer. I love seeing guano, because what I really see is digested mosquitoes!
The guano has just recently diminished quite a bit. The bats usually head toward their caves this time of year to hibernate. It’s a rite of passage for me in a way. This winter, I think I’m going to install another bat box. These much maligned helpful critters need all the help they can get!