“Hi, list folks–
I really appreciate bats–at least the bats we have here out west. (I know a few vampire bats have been found crossing from the Mexican border. They make me a tad nervous, but mostly because I don’t know much about them, I suppose.)
A number of years ago, when we could still rehab bats here in Colorado, I did a week-long “boot camp” on bat rehabilitation and rearing at Bat World Sanctuary in TX. (Bats have been officially declared a rabies-vector species in CO. This means, in our state, that no one is allowed to rehab them now unless everyone on the premises has had the pre-exposure series of rabies vaccinations. Our rehab center can’t mandate that, since we have so many volunteers. So we no longer rehab bats, I’m sorry to say. The ones I’ve helped with were fascinating, gentle, intelligent-seeming creatures. Individual in-home rehabbers are the only hope left for for injured, ill, and orphaned bats in this state.)
What I recall, from a deep, dusty memory of the Bat World training, is that most bat houses that are used serve as nursery colonies–groups of mothers and their pups. It’s certainly possible that bats in the east act differently. And a one-week training years ago hardly makes me a bat expert. The most common bat species we have here is the little brown myotis. Aside from nursing colonies, these bats tend to roost during the day singly, in rock crevices, under loose bark, and wood piles. Single bats will occasionally roost in or around buildings, but it’s not their most common choice here.
So a bat house–unless you’re within 1/4-mile or so of water, where nursing colonies tend to be–doesn’t get any bats. We certainly tried on our property, before I knew this. Repeatedly. Even though we see these marvelous insectivores in decent numbers at night. But, as I said, perhaps they behave differently in areas other than arid pinyon/juniper habitat out west and will use houses as daytime roosts elsewhere.
An interesting overview article about White-nose Syndrome (WNS) appeared recently in Microbe. Don’t be fooled by the title of the journal–it’s a very readable article. Toward the end of the article, the authors mention that WNS has existed in bats in Europe for quite a while. Yet those populations have not experienced elevated mortality rates. That sounds like a promising line of research for some wildlife researchers. We surely need some hope for these valuable mammals.”
With the fall migration under way for many birds, Goldfinches are one of the few species who will actually stay put… especially if you have finch feeders in your yard. Although their vibrant yellow plumage will soon begin to fade and wither with their second molt of the season, these sweet songbirds are full-time residents in most of North America.
Aside from being one of the few who experience two molts in the same season, they are also one of the latest breeders, raising nestlings in late summer through early fall. Because of this, you’ll find finch feeders busy with activity this time of year. Babies are fed thistle (or nyjer seed) almost exclusively.
Because of hot, humid weather, seed tends to spoil rapidly, so it’s best to change and clean feeders frequently. If finch feeders are not being emptied quick enough by the birds, don’t fill them all the way. This three-tube finch feeder’s innovative design distributes seed more evenly, so it’s less likely to spoil.
Just because that yellow plumage disappears, your finches won’t! Continue to fill your finch feeders throughout the year, and offer a fresh water source for these and other birds. Creating a wildlife friendly habitat will keep finches around the whole year.
So many folks will mutter: “I can’t feed the birds because of the squirrels”. It’s pure rubbish, nonsense I tell ya! The pesky critters can be foiled so easily and permanently with the use of a good squirrel baffle. This one-time, relatively inexpensive purchase of a good baffle really will solve the problem of squirrels raiding bird feeders.
So you have a shepherd’s hook that the squirrel baffle won’t slide over? Ridiculous! They make a great pole-mounted baffle that will go on any kind of bird feeder pole. It’s innovative cone-shaped design actually opens up and separates to go around the pole, then attaches back together by hooking one end into the others’ locking lip. It’s a powder coat metal, so the squirrel baffle stays looking nice for years. I just spray painted one that has to be twenty-some years old!
Should you desire a feeder mounted on a 4×4 post… no worries! An attractive baffle is also available for mounting on wood posts. So, there’s absolutely no reason to let squirrels ruin the enjoyment of backyard birding. A good squirrel baffle, be hanging, pole, or post-mounted will foil squirrels once and for all… the birds will thank you too!