Wednesday, July 05, 2006

right critters, wrong place

(cross-posted to the Tally Ho.)

This weekend, we went down south to Soybean Town to visit Elwood's family, and they let us know that they had (ahem) a little problem with some bats. The bats were being found in the basement, apparently having wandered and flopped through the walls of the house and emerging on the bottom floor with no way to get out. The bats were not pleased by this. The family was not pleased by this. In both cases, that was an understatement.

Doors were locked and sealed. Precautions taken. We ventured into the basement cautiously, armed with sticks and light and loud noises, driven down there only by our desire for a cold drink from the fridge. Over the past few months, a score of bats have been found in that room. Some of them even made it into the main house, but none of them made it back outside.

Then, sitting on the porch Saturday night at dusk, we saw the basement bats' more fortunate relatives emerge for the hunt. They poured out of an eve in the house, maybe forty in all, and started dive-bombing the mosquitoes. I affirm that we didn't want bats in the house, don't want their guano underfoot, worry about their diseases, but suddenly I didn't want to kill them. They were eating the bugs that were eating me. I was thrilled to hear that the "bat man" will put a temporary patch on the eave after dusk, so that they'll be trapped outside the house instead of inside when they're relocated.

Last week (click fast!)* there was an article in the NYTimes.com about pigeon control. The author decried the use of poisons, traps, raptors and the like for eradicating pigeons from urban areas. Far better, he says, to have designated pigeon feeding areas and monitored dovecotes from which workers can cull eggs when necessary. I like pigeons. They make a lovely noise. Their heads are iridescent. It's fun to chase them, and they'll come over to you if you wave your arm like you're throwing a crumb. Yes, there are too many of them, and yes, we don't want to clean bird crap off the statues, so can't we control them in a sensible way? Pigeons seem to be the only wildlife that can stand up to rush hour in the Loop; they can be found crossing the street at State and Madison just like those other commuters, who make far less pleasant noises. So let's distinguish between not liking the critters and not liking their numbers, or where they live. It's time to be nice to our neighbors.
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*I should mention again that I always archive the articles I quote, if you're late to the party and really interested in reading them. Leave me an email.

3 Comments:

Blogger Granny said...

It's always better when we can manage to leave the ecology alone.

Not always possible though.

8:43 PM  
Blogger sturdygirl said...

you're a better woman than i am - i hate pigeons. :(

7:29 AM  
Anonymous carolyn said...

isn't part of the pigeon issue that they spread disease? they're not calling 'flying rats' for nothing! i'm a bit more concerned with that problem in a city than i am with their poop!

11:18 AM  

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