Crescent Moon and Little Brown Bats

January 11, 2009


Photographer: Roger Hopkins, Ruth's Waterfalls
Summary Author: Roger Hopkins

The photo above shows the waxing crescent Moon emerging from the darkening western sky at about the same time two bats emerge from our bat house in New York's Finger Lakes region. During the next 15 minutes, we viewed a total of 68 bats drop from the open bottom of their house and fly away. These are probably little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus). Seen in the center of the picture, the house is about 20 inches (50 cm) tall and was built 10 years ago from plans we obtained from Bat Conservation International. Following the emergence, we inspected the bat house with a flashlight and found that an estimated 50 baby bats remained behind, indicating a healthy nursing colony. Hopefully, they'll not be affected next winter by the "mysterious bat disease" that's been killing hibernating bats in the northeastern U.S. The flapping wings of the bats moved too fast for this 1/50th second exposure to detect. Of course, the moon also moved during this time about 60 feet (19 m) in its monthly trip around the Earth, but the blur isn't noticeable due to its great distance. Photo taken on July 4, 2008.