Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory

Headquarters at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve

Return of the Bats

By Jill Kunsmann

About 10 years ago my son and future daughter-in-law were visiting for the weekend. It was a warm sunny day, and they decided to eat their lunch out on the deck. Within a very short time of heading outside, I heard their blood-curdling screams. As I ran to the rescue, I realized that they had opened a patio umbrella, which had remained closed for most of the summer, and what they had disturbed, was a nursing colony of Little Brown Bats. I'm sure the bats were equally terrified of the intruders who had rudely interrupted their sleep. There must have been 35 - 40 bats frantically trying to find a new roost away from those scary humans.

Every year since then I have left a patio umbrella available "for bats only." Son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren have come to appreciate the aerial acrobatics of the bats in the early evening hours, and have also been saddened by the gradual decline in bat activity that we witness each summer. We invite you to become involved with the WGLBBO monitoring of bats this summer. See our Volunteer Opportunities section of the website, and read Kate Redmond’s article on Little Brown Bats to learn more about these vitally important creatures.