David and I recently read an article in the Miami Herald about a wildlife sanctuary called Patch of Heaven. The Patch of Heaven sanctuary is located near the Redlands area, south of Miami. It’s a nonprofit organization that is committed to the preservation of old growth tropical hammocks and various forms of wildlife that reside in the hammocks. I read the article with interest, deciding I would like to visit this special place, until I came upon the part that mentioned a tragic event that happened there in May of 2020. This tragedy was in the form of a lightning strike that burned the sanctuary’s bat house to the ground. Thankfully, the bat house was new and there were no bats living inside when the fire occurred. The clever people at Patch of Heaven have devised a fund raising effort to help defray the costs of building a new steel bat house that can withstand lightning strikes. For a small donation, people can “adopt” and name a bat, with all proceeds from bat “adoptions” going toward building the new bat house. What does all this have to do with me? Well, I like bats. I really do. Many people may find them repulsive, but I have always been intrigued by these furry night flyers. (And I will always choose Batman over Superman in any contest between them!) The newspaper article provided several cute suggestions about bat naming, such as Batilda, Elizabat Taylor, and Batty Hearst. I immediately thought of 4 bat names: John, Paul, George, and Ringo, collectively The Bat-tles! As in, here comes the Fab Four Bats, the world famous Bat-tles! I am thrilled to say that, instead of committing me to a bat infested belfry, David joined in my hilarity and made a donation to the sanctuary. I am now the proud adoptive parent of 4 batty Bat-tles! Power to the bats!
I’m not sure why Melissa likes bats, but she does. I guess I find them intriguing, but a bit scary. We sometimes see them flying around the golf course behind our house and are thankful they are on the job eating mosquitos. But, seeing them en masse is pretty amazing. I’m thinking of when they emerge nightly from their lairs and fill the sky. I’ve seen this in Austin, TX a few times and it is cool. It is hard to photograph individual bats – too fast and erratic! But, the experience is pretty engrossing. I have seem some large bats, and flying foxes, in Australia; they are still fast and erratic, but they are big! A bit creepy too – with their fur and ability to climb through trees. Many literally “hang out” in Sydney’s botanic gardens. While somewhat active during the day – moving about their perches, it is at dusk when things get interesting. And, to see these bats flying, with such large wingspans, is impressive. When Melissa saw the article about the bats in Miami recently, I wasn’t too surprised that she would find it an interesting story. I hadn’t counted on her wanting to “adopt” one, much less 4. But, this clicked for her – and, what the heck, I can’t wait to see the new bat house when it is built. What a clever marketing idea!