Bats in Our Belfry


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No, this lesser long-nosed bat doesn’t have yellow fur. It’s covered in pollen after a busy night of drinking nectar.

Photo by National Park Service.

Yet again, I peer out the window in the early morning to see if my little hummingbird friends have arrived for breakfast and, yet again, no hummingbirds and all the nectar is gone. I think, “Hummingbirds aren’t nocturnal, are they? There was plenty left when we went to bed.” I decide to go on our NextDoor website and see if any local people have a clue. We’ve only been here 4 months and I’m the one who hasn’t a clue!

Almost immediately someone responds and says, “Oh, yes, this is BAT season!  Every night the nectar eating bats fly in from wherever they roosting and drain the hummingbird feeders.” Some people advise to cover the feeder or bring it in at night but others like me are happy to let the bats finish off whatever nectar the hummers haven’t gotten in the daytime. In the morning we bring in the feeder, wash it off, fill it and replace it for the day. No waste here! These are the Lesser Long Nose bats, the great pollinators of the desert southwest.

For some people bats conjure up scary images of rabies and vampires and it’s true they can carry rabies but I’m glad they’re here. Bats are voracious eaters of insects including mosquitoes and it’s far more likely that I could get bitten by a West Nile carrying mosquito than get bitten by a rabid bat.

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