Entries tagged with “bats”.


Banshee Reeks Bat Jul 27 2008 8Each spring and summer, we get emails from people asking, “We have bats — what can I do to get rid of them?”  Frankly, I am thankful that we get these questions.  It means the person cared enough about wildlife to contact us first rather than going directly to a company that would remove or exclude them which generally means death to adults and young.

I also appreciate getting those emails because it’s an opportunity to talk about bats, how amazing they are and how lucky that person is to have them at their house.  And, it’s a chance to talk about how we can live with bats, have a wonderful opportunity to learn about them and help this species which we are dangerously close to losing.

Here in Loudoun, we still have barns, shutters on windows, garages with openings here and there, and historic buildings with just the right crevices. We have some good bat habitat and we have a chance to help bats…but we need to be informed and tolerant. Yes, bats poop. But it’s ok.

A week or so ago, I received the latest newsletter from the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center.  They, and the Save Lucy Campaign, get a lot of questions about bats, and end up having to rehab injured and orphaned bats.  In their newsletter they had this wonderful write-up and I got permission to repost it here. If you have bats at your house, celebrate them and simply take steps not to come in directly contact with them – we can all live together:

The most commonly encountered bat in Virginia these days is the Big Brown Bat. Not a very “big” bat, big browns weigh in at only 16 grams, the weight of three quarters, and are only 4 inches long. Big Browns now outnumber what used to be the most common bat, the Little Brown Bat, whose populations have declined 98% in some areas as a result of a fungal infection called White Nose Syndrome (WNS), which is killing large numbers of cave hibernating bats including little browns. Big brown bats are also a cave hibernating bat, but they can also be found hibernating in barns, attics, and abandoned buildings, a trait that is saving their lives. 

During May and June, big brown bat females form maternity colonies in secluded areas in buildings and barns. Each female will give birth to one or two “pups” who cling to their mothers and nurse while their mother hangs upside down by her rear feet.   If a baby falls, the mothers often cannot carry them back to the roost, so if not rescued, these babies will die.  The BRWC rescues and raises many bat orphans every summer.  We work very hard to save every bat we can because bats are a long lived species whose populations grow very slowly due to their low reproductive rate. This increases the importance of saving these young ones.

If you have a roost around your home where babies bats sometimes fall, you can install a net under the roost called a “pup catcher”  This net is designed catch the pups and allow them to climb back to the roost. For advice, please call our Center 540-837-9000.

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Every year we have people emailing in asking “how do I get rid of these bats?” and my response always starts out with – “Wow! You have Bats!!!”

We’re losing our bats at a pace that is absolutely frightening:

From the Times Dispatch article: A mysterious disease that devastated bats in the Northeast is now turning Virginia caves into similar killing chambers, wiping out 89 to 99 percent of some populations.

If you (or anyone you know) are so lucky to have bats taking up residence at your house and are looking to evict them - especially if they are females raising young – please look at the situation through a different lens. Rather than asking how can I get rid of them, ask, “How can I live well with them?”  We are happy to help with finding those solutions.

There once was a time when bats flew prominently through our night skies. That time is over – and I expect that in our lifetimes we will not see such things again. Sorry to be such a downer but such is the environment in which we live right now.

Learn more about the state of our bats through this article and help spread the word: Bat-killing disease hitting Virginia harder than ever

This August, join us at Morven Park in Leesburg as Leslie Sturges of the Save Lucy Campaign teaches us about bats and takes us outside with a bat detector to see what bat species we can find and observe. More information can be found on our August calendar.

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There was a great interview/discussion on bats on the NPR/Diane Rehm show this past Monday.

In case you missed it, here’s the link:
http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2011-11-07/declining-us-bat-population

Click on “listen” in the left corner – Audio starts up about 30 seconds in so don’t give up on it (like I did at first) – just let it play and it’ll get rolling at about 30 seconds in.

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2011-11-07/declining-us-bat-population

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Bat Conservation International sent this action alert and it’s important enough that we all should take the couple of minutes to take action.  Bats are integral to our lives and our future and are worthy of our resources to help save them:

Bats are as much a part of Halloween as jack-o-lanterns and trick-or-treating. But some parts of the United States have almost no bats left – they’ve been killed by an epidemic called White-nose Syndrome (WNS).

Please keep the bats in Halloween by helping to stop this disease.

Tell the White House to fund the fight against WNS.

WNS continues to spread each year, with dire consequences for North American bats. We want President Obama to include WNS funding in his Fiscal Year 2013 budget. With current economic constraints, however, he needs to hear from the public about the devastating impacts of WNS. So we are using the White House’s new “We the People” petition tool to make our request. White House staff will review our request – but only if we obtain 25,000 signatures by November 25!

The November 25 deadline is just around the corner! Click here to sign.

If you already have a whitehouse.gov account, click “Sign In” at the bottom of the petition page, enter your information and then click “Sign this Petition.” If you are new to the whitehouse.gov webpage, click “Create an Account” at the bottom of the petition page. After you enter your information, an automated email will be sent to verify your new account. Once you have set-up your account, click the above link again and then click “Sign this Petition.” When you sign-up for a whitehouse.gov account you can select whether or not you want to receive emails from the Administration. We know it is not easy to register on this site, but remember, you only need to do it once.

After signing, spread the word by asking your friends and family to sign on, too.

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You may have seen the articles over the last week or so about Bats and White Nose Syndrome.  Researchers have confirmed that a fungus is the cause of the disease.  The Washingt0n Post has a good article summarizing the findings and talking about the issue:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/study-links-fungus-to-bat-killing-disease/2011/10/25/gIQAbI9OXM_story.html

Now, the question is, can researchers figure out a way to help the bats and combat the fungus before it wipes out our bats.

Some may ask the question, why should I care if we have bats or not? Well, besides bats being awesome in their own right, they also are incredibly important to our food production.

The Washington Post article explains some of the role that they play in keeping insect populations down which in turn helps our farmers.

Bat Conservation International is at the forefront of the issue – support them as you can and sign up for their newsletter to stay on top of the issue:

http://www.batcon.org/index.php/media-and-info/e-newsletter.html?task=_viewArticle&ArticleID=1236

If you have bats at your house… (well if I had bats at my house I would celebrate but if you have bats and you need advice about how to co-exist with them), you can reach out to Bat World NoVa, a great bat rehabilitation organization in our area: http://www.batworld.org/nova/ 

Learn more about bats through the Save Lucy Campaign: http://savelucythebat.org/

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The Fascinating World of Bats Wednesday, October 12, at the Carver Center in Purcellville, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. 

Leslie Sturges of the Save Lucy Campaign will describe the fascinating and enchanting world of bats, our only flying mammal, and how important they are. 

She will also introduce the seven species of bats, some of which are common and some of which are rare, that call Loudoun County home. 

This free adult program is sponsored by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy. 

The Carver Center is located at 200 Willie Palmer Way, Purcellville. 

Questions: contact Joe Coleman at jcoleman@loudounwildlife.org.

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YES – we are Batty About Bats!!  Come on out for this great FREE family event tomorrow night!

You’ll learn about bat behaviors and lifecycle, hear stories about what they do as they swoop over our yards and ponds, and see BATS!!  What could be cooler? This will be way more fun than swim meet and we promise – none will get caught in your hair – so come on out and join us!

Great program for the whole family!

Here are the full details:

Batty about Bats! Wednesday, July 20, at the Broadlands Community Center 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.  Join us as we welcome Leslie Sturges of Bat World NOVA and learn about the fascinating world of nature’s only flying mammals and their important role in our ecosystem.  Loudoun County is home to seven species of bats, some of which are common and some rare.  After the lecture we will walk around the community center and eavesdrop on bats’ ultrasonic calls as they forage for bugs.  This free, family program is co-sponsored by Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and the Broadlands Wildlife Habitats Committee.  The Broadlands Community Center is located at 43008 Waxpool Rd, Broadlands. Questions: contact Laura McGranaghan at lmcgranaghan@loudounwildlife.org.

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June 20-26, is National Pollinator Week:

Five years ago the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of the final week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. 

In just three years Pollinator Week has grown to be an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles.

The growing concern for pollinators is a sign of progress, but it is vital that we continue to maximize our collective effort.  The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture signs the proclamation every year.

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As many of you know, our bat population is being obliterated by a disease called White Nose Syndrome.

I received an action alert from Bat Conservation International which is working to get funding for scientists to research and combat the disease. Here is their alert, if you would like to take action as well:

Thanks to all of you who wrote your Senators a few months ago asking them to support the Wildlife Disease Emergency Act, which would expedite the federal government’s response to wildlife disease crises. The bill is still undergoing review.

Now we need your help again. Congress is preparing the federal budget, and White-nose Syndrome is one of many causes vying for a share of the shrinking pool of federal funds. But despite tight finances, the White-nose Syndrome epidemic cannot be ignored.

As you did last year, please urge your Congressional Representatives to support funding in next year’s federal budget to combat White-nose Syndrome.

Writing to Congress is easy. Click here for a sample letter and your members’ contact information. Feel free to tailor the letter to your own style and to describe how much bats mean to you.

We appreciate your support and continued action. Your participation is critical in helping members of Congress understand the gravity of White-nose Syndrome to our nation’s bats and its impact on our ecosystems and economy.

Unfamiliar with this horrible plague that’s wiping out our bats? Here’s a link that explains it and shows how it’s marching from North to south, east to west.  It hit Virginia last year and hit Kentucky this year.

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I wish I could embed this video on the blog but it’s not that kind of link so….. here’s the website:

http://www.ted.com/talks/louie_schwartzberg_the_hidden_beauty_of_pollination.html

This is an exquisite 7-minute clip on so much more than pollination. The presenter, Louie Schwartzberg, asks the question, “What motivates the pollinators?”  Chip Taylor of Monarch Watch offered the explaination, “Nothing lasts forever, everything eventually wears out.” This is a question about life itself and the imagery of the film clip is a wonderful journey in that.

One commenter posted, “I am saddened to realize that most of the pollinators in these clips are seriously threatened – The honey bees by hive collapse syndrome, the bats by a fungus, the butterflies by habitat loss.”  I think that’s a pretty key obersvation.

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