Friday, July 28, 2006

Nature Study I Didn’t Want To Have Today

This is how my day started.

My husband’s alarm went off at about 5 in the morning as he had an early interview in the City today. I was so tired that I had no problem going right back to sleep.

I then began having a dream, I thought, with a fluttering and flapping sound. The sound got louder and louder. I found myself starting to wake up. As I lay in bed with my eyes closed telling myself “go back to sleep, go back to sleep”, I could detect that the sound was not a fluttering but actually was a flapping. And it was farther away then coming at me then tapering down again, turning around then coming back across my bed.

I opened my eyes and indeed something was flying back and forth directly over my bed!

The first thing I thought was, “Great, I let the Chimney Swifts live in the chimneys and now they have fledged and are flying around INSIDE the house which crosses the line!”

I looked at the ceiling fan and determined quickly that the sound was not the whir of the moving ceiling fan. I have poor eyesight and didn’t have my glasses on. I could see a black blur flying back and forth over my head.

I then imagined what might happen if the creature flew INTO the moving ceiling fan blades and cringed at the thought of that.

I ducked under the covers, with flashes of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” going through my head.

As I listened to the sound I realized it was a bat not a bird, as it definately was a flapping sound.

I decided to turn on the light (as it was still pretty dark in the room). I also knew this may scare off the bat or at least make it perch someplace. I then jumped up and shut off the ceiling fan. My eyes were so sensitive to the light that by the time they could handle taking a good look around, with eyeglasses in place, the bat was long gone (and the sound was gone, too).

I could not run to get my husband to come to the rescue as I heard him in the shower. When the coast was clear, and after he was done with his shower, I emerged and gave him the news. He had no time in his schedule for stalking bats in the darkened house. So he got ready to go and left me there.

So that is how I started my day.

Another Bat Experience
I was not too freaked out about this as one time about four years ago I went to Maine to with just my children, to visit my grandmother. On our first night, we were all snuggled in the King sized bed and I was reading aloud from a picture book that my grandmother bought for them to have when they are there, so every night for many years I had to read the darned book in its entirety (Burt Dow, Deep Water Man by Robert McCloskey, which is a fun read but very long for an exhausted mother to read at the end of the day.) Anyway I was reading that book and my older son (then about 4 years old) said, “Mama, there is a bat flying around here.” I said, “No, it must just be a deer fly, they are pretty big.” Then he said again, “No, it is a bat Mama!” and just then it swooped about six inches above the book I was reading. My older son screamed. At this, the bat perched on the side of the chimney. I didn’t know what to do! So I grabbed the waste basket and slammed it down, to trap it to the side of the chimney. I then directed my older son to grab a magazine that was lying nearby. I shimmied that underneath and trapped the bat inside. I then had my son open the doors for me while I made my way downstairs and outside. I put the wastebasket down on the ground and went back inside (leaving it there overnight). This left an impression on my older son, not a good one.

More Detective Work Today
So anyway this morning I was wondering where the bat was flying now and I wondered what other rooms it was swooping around in. After doing some reading in bed with the light on, and with no reappearance of the bat, I went back to sleep.

When the kids woke up and woke me up, we went on a hunt around the house for the bat, looking at the ceilings and walls for a perched bat. We didn’t find one. But we did find that we had left one of the fireplace flues open. (Wonderful for nearly two months we’ve had the air conditioning on with a flue open!) So we closed the flue.

I wonder if the bat is still in the house or if it is out. We will see if it wakes us up tonight. This time I am glad that my husband will be here all night, and he has no reason to get up early and he can be here to deal with the situation. His idea so far involves swatting it with a broom. I envision using the children’s large insect nets to snag it and release it outdoors. You can see that we have different approaches to dealing with things.

That was a little nature encounter that I didn’t want to have today.

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Maryann said...

Funny, just this Monday we went to the library for a Bat Show. The Bat Lady, says the best thing to do in a case like that is to Open A Window,Leave the Room, Close The Door. The bat doesn't want to stay and 99% of the time will leave the room through the open window. I hope you locate the little breastfeeding mammal. Bats are our friends...but when you see them flying in your room at 5:00 am it must be pretty freaky!

christinemm said...

Thanks for the advice.

As of last night my husband was suspecting the whole thing was a figment of my imagination.

Then we were getting ready for bed. I was in the bathroom with the door shut and the bat came and swooped down on my husband and two kids while they were playing a game. It came within 6 inches of them and freaked the kids out.

It then quickly left the room.

We did a little house hunt and couldn't find it flying around anywhere (or hanging anywhere).

We planned to trap it into our bedroom when it flew back in. When it did come back it flew right for me at about 4 feet off the ground. In order for me to go shut the door I would have had to walk right into it. So I refused. It flew back out. It didn't return.

I will try that advice tonight if it comes back in. Our challenge is finding it flying and it has to be in a room with doors at the time, doors that we can get to in time. The bat flies very quickly and it really has a wide wing span!

The window way seems better than bashing it with a broom or catching it with an insect net! We will do it!

christinemm said...

Update: The bat didn't come out last night (at least while we were awake). It either found its way out or it has died. I'll keep you updated. I guess if we start smelling something foul we've found the decomposing body. Blech.

My husband thinks it died of starvation becuase he says bats eat their equivalent in body weight in insects every night, so deprived of that he may be dead.

the spouse said...

This method of bat removal has worked for me:

First, turn off all the lights where the bat is. The bat will fly toward any light that is on (oddly), even flying out of a room to do so. If the bat is downstairs and you have outside porch lights, for example, turn them on while turning off the lights in the house and open the front door. In my experience the bat flies out, towards the light.

Don't know how this can be adapted to upstairs bats but it's one idea, anyway!