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November 19, 2019

10/30/2019 3:56:00 PM
Forget Witches, Ghouls and Ghosts: Bats Are Where It's At
By Betsy Bird


If you were to visit the city of Austin, Texas, sometime between the months of March and October, you would be privy to a rather remarkable sight. Every evening, roundabout 20 minutes before sundown, 1.5 million bats will emerge from beneath the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge.

That’s a lot of bats.

It’s also a significant tourist attraction for the city itself. Alas, Evanston has no significantly sized bat population to match Austin’s, but what we lack in numbers we make up for in chutzpah. Our local bats are wonders in their own right. And now that the weather has taken a turn for the autumnal, what better time to celebrate them?

At Evanston Public Library, we have all kinds of books to meet your bat-loving needs. Here’s just a smattering of some of the battier titles on offer:

“The Secret Lives of Bats: My Adventures with the World’s Most Misunderstood Mamals” by Merlin Tuttle
It’s not every book out there written by someone with a doctorate in bat biology. Dr. Tuttle explains not only the sheer necessity of bats to our ecosystems but also interesting facts, like that certain bats are comparable to elephants in their ability to maintain complex social relationships. Kirkus called this “A page-turning memoir” and PW, “subtle humor and contagious, unsubtle passion.”

“Bats: Learning to Fly” by Falynn Koch
Do you prefer your bat infor-mation in a graphic novel format? Over a dozen bat species are covered alongside bat behavior in this highly engaging title. Sure, it was written for 10-year-olds, but you’re going to get a lot out of it.

“Owls Aren’t Wise and Bats Aren’t Blind: A Naturalist Debunks Our Favorite Fallacies About Wildlife”  by Warner Shedd
Sorry, but it’s true. Turns out bats have fantastic vision. The director of the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation gives you the scoop on 27 different animals, debunking myths wherever he goes. A must for any nature lover.

“The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats: A Scientific Mystery” by Sandra Markle
If you know me, then you’ll know that I love books for kids. Particularly when those books cover subject areas inadequately discussed by adult titles. No doubt you’ve heard of the fungus that is currently wiping out large swaths of the bat population. Ms. Markle dives deep into the mystery of the fungus, its origins and why it is as deadly to bats as it is.

“Flying Blind: One Man’s Adventures Battling Buckthorn, Making Peace with Authority, and Creating a Home for Endangered Bats” by Don Mitchell
Middlebury College writing professor Don Mitchell did not want to track bats on his 150-acre farm in Vermont. Nope. He pretty much figured bats were just flying rats and thought he’d leave it at that. But when a biologist with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department contacted him about the project, he figured he’d look into it. Now Mitchell’s a bat convert and his personal and environmental story is as engaging as it is informative.





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