Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bat Story #1

Silk Creek in Early Autumn, by me

As we walked down Silk Creek, the water cold and the sun hot, I saw something fluttering spasmodically in the trees, just below a leafy beech branch, dark and somehow at odds to the bright day. I altered my course toward the edge of the creek, headed for the odd jerky motion. In a few moments, it resolved itself into a bat. But why was it behaving so strangely? I had to get another ten feet closer before I realized it was somehow entangled. Nearer yet, and I saw it was on a fishline. The bat had gone for a fishing fly that had been tangled in the branches, cut off, and left there. The hook was caught in its mouth. And even as I watched, I saw that the bat was weakening from its struggles. It had probably already been struggling for a number of hours, since they tend to feed during the crepuscular hours, long gone now in mid-afternoon.

I gently wrapped my hand around the bat to restrain it from struggling and cut the transparent fishline. Scott walked back to his house to get some tools, a small needle-nosed pliers, wirecutters and other things we might need. I sat on a rock with my feet in the creek and waited with Keith until Scott returned. Then, I cut the barb off the hook and extracted the hook from the mouth of the bat.

Bat on a string--looks like a toy
but it's a live animal, injured and struggling
click this image to see all the images larger

extracting the hook
We climbed up the steep side of the ravine and I placed the bat on a tree. It seemed stunned and weak, and I worried about its survival, but when we returned to check on it, it was gone. I hope it flew off to a safer place and was able to rest, revive, and survive after its trauma, trauma caused by a thoughtless fisherman.

the release
Today I am fasting, tomorrow I have surgery (and am nervous and scared (of the pain!)).


John said...

What a wonderful post Mary written by a wonderfully caring person.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Thanks, John, you are so sweet to say that. :-D