Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bat Exclusion - Night Two

Yesterday just before dusk I stood directly under our new bat boxes and shined a flashlight above me. I thought I could make out one bat in each box (although it was hard to tell if I was seeing bats or wasps nests). As darkness fell we settled in on the patio outside the kitchen to wait for the second night's show. One of the things I've learned from this adventure is that not every bat in a colony will be active on any given night. We will need to leave the one-way door up for at least a week before we can be confident that all of our bats have had sufficient time to exit the Einsel House attic.

By 9pm last night we had counted 47 bats leaving the attic. We didn't take a count on Sunday night, but considering that last fall my sister-in-law stopped counting at 200 one night even though bats were still coming out we're pleased with an under-50 count for the second night with the one-way door up.

Unlike the first night, the bats that came out last night did not attempt to immediately reenter the attic. (I admit it's possible they were intimidated by the larger spot light we had last night.) :) Regardless, once out, last night's bats headed for the creek.

Of course the big question for the night was - where did the bats that exited the first night go? We saw only one bat fly out of the bat boxes we put up earlier this summer. We also saw at least 3 bats coming from the capped south chimney of the house. It appears that the bats did not enter the actual chimney proper, but instead found shelter behind a gap in one piece of flashing used to cap the chimney. We'll be watching this chimney closely to determine if it continues to be used by the bats.

Early this morning I sat down at the computer to check email. Within a few minutes I noticed there were bats flying outside the office window. I slipped on some shoes and went outside to watch. As before, the bats would fly straight to the top of the one-way door then abruptly turn around, loop back and try again. Each bat made around five or six tries at the door before giving up.

I walked around the house and saw bats swooping toward the eaves all around the roof. As I watched two bats went back into the south chimney. They actually landed on the roof first and crawled over to the chimney before climbing behind the gap in the flashing.

By 6:45 there were only two bats still looping through the air outside the one-way door. When they finally gave up I followed them around to the south end of the house. Again they began circling above me, each flying repeatedly up to the south gable peak of the house. Finding it too blocked, they proceeded around to the back of the house. Yet again they flew repeatedly at the roofline. By this time I honestly felt sorry for the two things so quiet in their frantic flight above me. They did finally admit defeat, and I watched as they flew together towards some woods just north of the house. Their repeated failure to get back into the Einsel House has been our goal from the start, and yet watching those two poor bats was poignant somehow. Most of the creatures forced out of this house in the past two days have called this place home longer than I have.

I'm curious to see what tonight brings.

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