Saturday, February 13, 2016

Hawaiian Hoary Bat

Come walk with me on my farm, just at dusk when you can still make out the outlines of the trees. Follow me out the house, down the zigzag stairs, down the hill, and across the little pond bridge. Now stand quietly, looking out over the garden area. Wait a bit. Ooooooo, what was that? Big shadow swooping by. A barn owl. Still wait with me. Be still. There. There. Those flitting shadows in the sky. Bats! There be bats here! 

I once impressed a visitor by staring intently at the bats, squinting my eyes, muttering a low hhhhuuummm, aaaahhhh, then announcing that the bats were the endangered Hawaiian hoary bats. Visitor was dully impressed by my ability to identify the bats in the low light. 

Haaaaa. Haaaaaa. I'm so bad. Yup, there is only ONE type of bat in Hawaii. Not a chance of me guessing wrong. Just the Hoary bat. 
(Photo off the web) 

I have at least three bats that regularly work the air over the main garden area. Often I only see one at a time, but I know that there are sometimes three because I've seen all three at the same time, crisscrossing the sky. When the weather is wet, like this past year, I see the bats often. When we get a dry year, I seldom spot a bat. I suppose it depends upon the flying insect population. That's what they're hunting. 
(Photo off the web. The hoary bat is small, easily fitting in your hand. )

I've always liked bats. I've never understood the fear that some people have for them. I've often seen bats while growing up as a kid and always thought they were special. Hey, a flying mouse that can "see" at night. Now how cool is that! Back in NJ I had bats that worked the field behind my house. As a result my house area was practically mosquito-free. My neighbor across the street was envious. Her place had plenty of mosquitos. I didn't know why the bats preferred my side of the street, but I was thankful none the less. 

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