Bats :: Summer Nature Study

I selected Bats as the topic for our weekly nature study this week because we were camping over the holiday weekend and I knew (as in past years) we would see bats overhead as we sat around the evening campfire.  In the morning, we frequently do a few lessons (math, reading, etc.) as well so I brought along a bat specimen a student had given me years ago.  I gathered the kiddos around and we spent a little time sketching the bat and I read a few excerpts from a field guide on bats.

Buddy was in a hurry as he wanted to help the guys inflate our kayaks for the river. MeiLi spent more time on her illustration and experimented just a little with charcoal.

As we talked about bats throughout the weekend, my dad stated that when he was a boy, his father had told him that if you tie a white cloth to the end of a long stick, the bats will follow it.  He and his brothers were skeptical and thereby gave it a go.  Sure enough – the bats swooped down a few times to investigate.  They didn’t try to attack the cloth in any way – they just seemed to come closer as if to get a better “look”.  A few moments later, they resumed their hunt for insects.

Hearing this, we wanted to give it a try as well.  Unfortunately – a number of elements worked against us and we didn’t observe any change in the behavior of the bats that flew above us.  1) Our stick was only about 5′ long.  Dad said though he was a boy, he recalled the stick they used seemed to be 15-20′ feet and was a little unwieldy as a result.  2) They were in a large open meadow or pasture with only a few scattered trees.  We did not have such an open space available at the time – just a small clearing within the campground.  The surrounding trees were mature oaks, maples and fir.  As a result the bats seemed to stay above the canopy.  We’ll definitely be trying this little experiment again.

A year ago, we had an opportunity to attend a Live Bat Encounter program at the local museum.  Surprisingly, I don’t believe that I blogged about it (at least I couldn’t find a post). 

Coinciding with the live encounter, the museum at the time also had a special exhibit on bats showcasing species from around the world.  The one that fascinated me the most were the Honduran white bats shown here.

The following is a video clip I recorded during the Live Bat Encounter:

About Eva Varga

Eva is passionate about education. She has extensive experience in both formal and informal settings. She presently homeschools her two young children, teaches professional development courses through the Heritage Institute, and writes a middle level secular science curriculum called Science Logic. In addition to her work in education, she is an athlete, competing in Masters swimming events and marathons. In her spare time she enjoys reading, traveling, learning new languages, and above all spending time with her family. ♥

4 comments on “Bats :: Summer Nature Study

  1. Very cool! A friend brought us a bat that they found in the blinds of their beach rental a couple of weeks ago. We took tons of pictures. 🙂

    Next week is the Outdoor Challenge Bat. Might want to include this post in the McLinky. 🙂

    Great drawings, I think I’ll have the boys do that as well. Love the tip on the stick. Surely we can find one. Every time the boys cast their bait on the fishing poles 1-3 bats come to investigate. Since they are more prone to sound than color – wonder if we could make a pinwheel type thing – and wave it in the air. I have one photograph where you can see the outline of the wings, but nothing “good”. Hmmm. Now you have me thinkin’ . . . .

  2. I enjoyed reading about your bat adventures while camping and the idea for getting a closer look at bats. We have bats in our backyard and one of our favorite things to do in the summer is go out at “bat time”. They are amazing flyers.

    Thanks for sharing your link.
    Barb

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