The return of the bat!

Avatar for Debbie McConnell
By Debbie McConnell

An update on the health of the bat rescued by our Chair, Debbie McConnell, last month.

Readers will recall that the Pipistrelle bat that crash landed in our garden was given sanctuary by the Bat Conservation Trust. 2 weeks ago at dusk he appeared again, but this time via Sam from the BCT in her car in a small box, with 5 * comfort befitting “our” furry flier.

She was returning him to his territory after a period of rest and recuperation. She reported that he had eaten copious amounts of the protein mush provided – a tailored concoction of nourishing food dispensed with a syringe to start – and had put on weight. He was now flying, twitching his pricked- up ears, stretching out those long, skin wings and chittering and squeaking as he navigated his aviary using sonar and superlative flying skills.

Sam carefully opened his box and we all gawped at the transformation! Our spitfire was plump, looked fighting fit and was alert. But would he fly? That bemused us. Why wouldn’t he? Her explanation induced giggles and astonishment in equal measure. If “he” was a “she” the pipistrelle or “pip,” as Sam calls them, would have lifted off and flapped into the night sky without a second glance back. But this was a male pip and males are, Sam explained, a bit lazy!!! Why depart when you can be fed by hand with no effort, live with comfort and ease in a very spacious aviary with all mod cons – hanging facilities, water dispensers, top notch grub and no birds of prey to scare one witless!!

Pipistrelle Bat  | David Fincham via Creative Commons

Our daughter’s gloved flat hand, (they can carry rabies), held up to the sky was his launch pad. He sat. She turned around for a different perspective. He sat. Sam suggested she gently move her hand up and down. He sat. Side to side. He sat. Mmmmm.

Sam gave her the go ahead to be a bit more vigorous and, ears turning and head up he surely sensed freedom and his big starry world, taking off with aplomb. We looked up. But where was he? Sam was baffled. They are fast fliers but 0 to 60 mph in a split second is very good going even for a pip!

Sam commandeered a search. He was clinging to the side of our low pond wall, his claws gripping. Sam lifted him off and raising her hands to the blackness above we all held our breath and hoped for a better debut. With wings fully deployed he masterfully streaked into the night. We watched as he circled and Sam’s bat detector picked up his clicking and chittering. Silently we wished him luck and good hunting.

Sam returned home, duty done. We gave her a donation for their wonderful work and will always remember our “pip”.

Debra McConnell
Quernmore landscape