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Seasonal harbingers


Angelo Dispenza

Jim, great pictures. I followed a beautiful Cardinal around my house yesterday from branch to branch, such great markings around their eyes. Dont let Kristen see the bat pictures though, she'll make me start our anti-bat routine and pull the tennis racquets out of the closet. Take care.

May 8, 2011, 1:58pm Permalink

Hi Ange! Thanks for your comments. For some reason I had difficulty with the text to go along with the pics - couldn't get it to stay put.

Note the "tailhook" on the bat!

May 8, 2011, 4:01pm Permalink
Billie Owens

I thought the thousands of bugs a bat eats every day would offset their unpleasant looks and, possibly, overblown reputation of carrying rabies. Maybe I should buy a bat house to hang under the eaves. Think this would encourage them to hang out on my house?

May 8, 2011, 6:26pm Permalink

Billie - a friend of ours recently discovered bats living in his home - I mean a lot of bats, literally dozens in his walls and attic. He eventually found their entry point and placed a dryer vent cover over it. Around dusk that evening they began to exit the house. Needless to say, they weren't able to get back in. The only drawback was, for a couple days the bats were in a "holding pattern" around their sealed off entrance.

My point being, while bat houses do attract bats, do you really want one on your house?

Consider a Purple Martins house. Purple's are the largest member of the swallow family and efficient bug catchers.

May 8, 2011, 8:41pm Permalink
C. M. Barons

Bats get an unreasonable level of suspicion pertaining to the transmission of rabies. An Alabama Department of Health study (data on rabies collected from 1948 to 2005) relative to 8,105 positive cases of rabies in the state reveals percentages by species are domestic dog (41.8 percent), fox (18.8 percent), raccoon (18.1 percent), bats (8.6 percent), cow (4.5 percent), domestic cat (3 percent), and skunk (2.9 percent). Other wildlife and domestic animals comprise the remaining cases, each having a percentage of less than 1 percent. Opossum are essentially immune to rabies infection.

As with any wildlife or domestic animal, unnatural behavior represents the best indicator of rabies infection. Bats, normally shy of human interaction and aerial, should be deemed suspicious when found on the ground or aggressive contact with humans. 15 to 28% of bats that have bitten humans test positive for rabies.

According to a California study, 1 in 1,000 to 10,000 bats are rabies carriers.

Bats and Purple Martins have been cited for their prodigious impact on mosquito populations. Both species are given far more credit than is due. Logically, would either species waste time on the least filling insect in the air? Bats tend to favor moths and Martins have a diverse diet of large insects- neither bats nor Purple Martins make a sizable dent in the mosquito population. (Neither do U/V traps) Purple Martins are not on wing in the dark- when most mosquitoes are active.

By far- the greatest benefit provided by bats is plant pollination. Although, most of such pollination involves tropical and desert species.

May 9, 2011, 1:08pm Permalink

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