Well, its been a long time coming, but as of 8pm last night, the brand new BrumBats Chris Sherlock Bat Flight Cage is now fully operational and its first residents have moved in! We held a small opening ceremony at which I gave a slideshow comprising about a million photos of cute bats, and photos of the project from research to completion. It felt very strange this morning waking up and thinking “right, off to the flight cage to check on the bats!”.
So far, 5 bats have moved into the cage (Bella, Winnie, Papoo, Jay and Kevin) and they will hopefully soon be followed by last year’s pups Belfry, Dusty and Kimi, and then the last of this year’s pups Martie, Wendy & Ellie. Bat season is far from over yet this year, as the late spring has meant that BCT have predicted mid-August as the peak of baby bat season, but things should be tailing off in a few weeks. We tend to get our last few calls in the first 2 weeks of September. (For some reason I always seem to get a few Brown Long Eared bats in early September – it will be interesting to see if the pattern continues!)
So far this season, we have had 42 new bats (plus another 7 from 2012), which means that 2013 is on track for becoming the busiest bat care in BrumBats’s history, so the flight cage opening is not a moment too soon! We’ve also had some brilliant results from rehabilitating bats using the cage as ‘outpatients’ – both Bertie (flying in photo below) and Jason were suffering from injuries caused by cats, and after several weeks in care each, they have both now been successfully released, making them the first ‘Alumni’ of the flight cage!
There’s still lots more work to do in the cage, including setting up our night vision camera, installing water troughs and moving in some plants, as well as all the work to do on the garden to improve it for bats, and we are also hoping to install an interpretation board about bat care and bat life cycles.
This seems like the end of a very long journey, but it is in fact the beginning of an even longer one. I’ll keep you updated on how the bats are doing and will be sure to post lots as we move towards soft release of our first bats from the cage.
Thanks so much to everyone who has helped with the project, especially to our treasurer, Mike, without whom this whole thing really wouldn’t have happened, and to our training officer, Chris, who has inspired me and the rest of the bat group to work as hard as we do for bat conservation.
– Morgan 🙂