There’s Hope!

“A syndrome that attacks hibernating bats is much more severe in Connecticut… will lead to a dramatic reduction in the size of the state’s bat population this summer, according to wildlife experts at the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)…DEP Commissioner Gina McCarthy said, ‘While no one yet knows for sure what is causing WNS and why such large numbers of bats are dying, we will see the ramifications of this in just a few months. Far fewer bats will be out there working to consume mosquitoes and other flying insects that attack people as well as our forests and farmlands.'”

It’s depressing news. I don’t like to write of it. News stories like this one describing a mysterious disease affecting bats can make it seem hopeless. So why bother with healthy environmental practices? Why bother with outdoor pleasures that are so likely soon to disappear?

I took a great walk yesterday. One of my very favorite day-flying moths popped out of some bushes. Here it is:

grapevine epimenis moth

It’s a moth with alot of fashion sense, in my opinion. There are more day-flying moths than you would think, and they are often quite pretty. While butterflies confine themselves to daytime flight, moths run the gamut so keep your eyes open.

In spite of Emily Dickinson’s famous verse “Hope is the thing with feathers”, yesterday my hope came in a winged form with none.

I found a bat. It was healthy and sleeping. It hung, wings closed and upside down from a crabapple tree in the middle of the woods. It looked well-fed and the fur was clean (bats are fastidious) and sleek. It had tucked itself near some forming crab apples, and was reasonably well camouflaged. I could easily have walked by thinking it was a leaf, but something about the shape gave me pause.

I know the bat disease (White Nose Syndrome) is rampant. I don’t expect to see many flitting around the night sky this summer. But even in great epidemics there are those who remain mysteriously untouched. They form the nexus of a new beginning. Out of the ashes rises the pheonix. Or the bat, whichever you prefer.


See you on the trails,
Diane Tucker, Estate Naturalist


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6 Responses to “There’s Hope!”

  1. BSlack Says:


    Great story except that bat is called an Eastern Red Bat (Lasiurus borealis). This type of bat is a migratory bat and does not hibernate in caves. It migrates south during the winter and comes back north for the summer.


    • hillsteadnatureblog Says:

      Thank you so much for the correction on the name! The lack of hibernation up here sure explains the apparent health of the bat. It seems as though we may be relying on Southern bats for some time to come. Thanks again, Diane

  2. Ratty Says:

    Hopefully the bats that survive this disease will come out of it stronger than before. Bats seem scary to people that don’t pay attention to animals, but to anyone else they are beneficial. I like this post very much. All of yours have been good.

  3. Nancy Silvers Says:

    I am going to be paying much closer attention when I am out walking..I don’t want to miss all that we are able to see. My neighbor recently had a few bats flying outside at night and was thrilled as he has been trying to attract them for some time.

  4. AYarb Says:

    I saw one of these day flying moths about 8 years ago in MA. I have video footage of it because it was so interesting and beautiful. I never did find out what it was until today. Thanks! I’ll have to share this with my son. At that time he called it a “bumblebee!”

  5. ccinnkpr Says:

    I think bats are cool and I’m totally jealous that you were able to spot one in just hanging on a tree in the woods. The spread of white-nose syndrome is incredibly depressing to me.

    Perhaps if we all put up bat houses there would be more bats able to nest in isolation, slowing the progress of the disease?

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