I Have Bats in My Belfry
...And a newborn baby bat on my porch
This morning. I was so organized. Prepared. On time. Until I saw it.
A little something on the front of one of my porch steps.
A very tiny bat.
I have seen them before, clinging on the house during the day. But this one was so small and completely bare of any fur. And what was he doing down her three feet off the ground? I bent down and told him this was no safe place to be. I could see his tiny chest rise and fall with his breath.
I took a few photos while I thought about what to do about this little creature. Usually I have just left them alone and they figure it out on their own. But this was a precarious spot. He shied away from my camera and I stopped bothering him and came inside to find someone who knew more about bats than I.
Online, I found the The Vermont Bat Center in Milton, VT. I called them and talked to Barry. He told me that a baby bat without fur was likely less than a week old, had likely fallen from the nest and could definitely use some help. At this age he would not be able to fly home. Barry instructed me to place him as close as I could to where I thought they were entering their nest. I put on a light glove ( this guy was too small to bite) and climbed the ladder with my small charge in one hand. The little waif looked up at me and opened his mouth. Was he scared? Or simply seeking the comfort of his mother? Or curious? I don't know, but I will say that it stirred my heart.
At the entrance to his home, I encouraged him to get off my glove and he crawled into the crevice. Having done what I could, I set off about my day. When I returned some 5 hours later, I mounted the ladder to check on him again. It was dark in there, but I could see one fuzzy head fussing over one bald one and a couple other bats as well.
Sigh. I held a newborn bat in my hand and helped him find his way back to his mother. That's a good day in the Upper Valley. A really good, unforgettable day. It only took a few moments to create it and I wasn't late after all.
Lesson: Don't be afraid to take a moment to see what's around you and respond.
Next step: The Vermont Bat Center is sending me plans for a bat house so I can encourage them to move out of my roof space and into more suitable lodgings. If you need a bat house, let me know. I will have some for sale shortly.