Friday, September 21, 2007

Bats at the Bluff

Prior to the current forest management activities at Silver Bluff, much of the 3,154-acre property was utilized for a different kind of agriculture—crops such as corn, wheat, soybeans, peanuts, watermelons, etc. When Audubon acquired Silver Bluff in 1975 there were several old wooden tenant homes that were still occupied and others that were abandoned. All of these had a long history of housing families that farmed the land. Today only one of those residents remains, and most of the homes are uninhabitable….by humans, that is.

Turns out that Rafinesque’s Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus rafinesquii) finds them quite suitable for bachelor pads, nursing colonies, and more. As many as 30 of these unusual creatures have been seen hanging out in the old tenant homes and outbuildings. The trouble is, all of these structures are in various stages of returning to the earth, so these rent-free bat homes are by no means permanent. Eventually the bats will need to find other quarters, such as hollow trees or the undersides of bridges.

Text and photo credit: Paul Koehler

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