One of our Bedford readers wrote in part: "My family and I have enjoyed your column for many years. Recently I was looking at some old emails and found one I wrote to my kids a couple of years ago. Since you enjoy wildlife stories I decided to send a copy to you. I hope you find it amusing."
I certainly did and am pleased to share it with our readers.
"Subject: Big Bad Bat! Dad and I were asleep last night when, at 12:30 a.m., the house alarm went off very loud. I woke up and after a few tries I was able to wake up Dad, who was blissfully sleeping through all the alarm noise! We shut off the alarm and rushed out of the bedroom to see who had broken into our house.
"There wasn't anyone around, and all the doors were still locked, so we rushed from room to room expecting to see a broken window, but everything was in order. No one lurking around waiting for Dad to beat them up with a baseball bat. Anyway, just as we were about to give up and go back to bed a 'Big Big Big' bat flew by us in the family room. We chased it around yelling and flapping stuff at it. It flew into our bedroom, with the two of us right behind it yelling and flapping. I slammed the bedroom door shut. Now we had it!! I ran to get the all important towel, and we tried and tried to get it with that towel, but it kept flying very fast and in big circles around the room with Dad swinging and flapping the towel and me yelling: 'Watch out for the lamp!!'
"Finally Dad yelled: 'Open the window!!' I opened the window, but could not get the screen out. After we had both struggled with the screen, we managed to slide it out while I kept yelling: 'Don't let the screen fall into my Iris garden!' So now, Dad has the screen in his hand (it's the half window size), and he is swinging it at the bat and I'm flapping with the towel and the bat is flying round and round and round. It finally lands just above the curtain rod, and I'm right on it. I jump on the chair and flap the towel as high as I can reach. I scream: 'Quick, help me pull the bureau out from the wall.' Dad gets the bureau away from the wall and I jump behind the bureau with my towel ready to wrap it around the bat — but I can't find it. I'm on my hands and knees behind the bureau trying to see under it when Dad comes in behind me and yells: 'It's right there by your head.' I'm screaming: 'Where???'
"Then suddenly right by my face, I see this tiny, furry thing clinging to the back of the bureau. After I calm down and quit screaming, I grab the thing with my towel, run to the window and flapped it out into the dark. I slammed the window down fast, because I'm afraid the thing will come back in. I'm amazed at how big the bat is when his wings are open and how small it is when his wings are closed.
"If the bat goes home and tells his family about his adventure, I hope he admits that he ruined my sleep. Of course as soon as the bat was out the window, Dad went right to sleep, but it took me a couple of hours to get back to sleep.
"This morning I hung a big sign on the fireplace that says: 'Anyone who leaves the fireplace damper open is in big trouble!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'"
In a moment of exasperation, some folks have been known to address a fellow traveler on this Earth thusly: "You drive me batty!" Although I don't know the genesis of this phrase, I suspect it may have something to do with trying to eject a bat from a bedroom in the dark of night.
We thank our Bedford reader for sharing this "bat" story with us.
I must confess, I read this account with a chuckle and, of course, sincere sympathy.
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Bats (Chiroptera) are really mammals and not birds, as some might consider them to be. Bats are the only mammal that can fly with powered flight. It is a very rapid flight with nimble maneuverability and renders them the very fascinating creatures they really are. Other mammals, such as flying squirrels, may appear to fly, but none can produce a "lift." They simply "glide." For more information on these remarkable mammals, the Bat Convention International may be contacted by computer at www.batcon.org.
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For readers of our Aug. 30 column re. red-bellied woodpecker: I made a careless error that I sincerely regret. The red color described on the head and neck of the male and female should have been reversed. The remainder of that column I believe to be correct. I have discussed this error by phone with the inquiring reader who had written about an unidentified woodpecker that ate oranges, but not suet.
Stacey Cole's address is 529 W. Swanzey Road, Swanzey, 03446.