Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dead bat flying

Here's a sad story from the Science Times about the mysterious deaths of hibernating bats in North America, but my favorite unlikely simile (dead bats to folded-up umbrellas) gets deployed:

Al Hicks was standing outside an old mine in the Adirondacks, the largest bat hibernaculum, or winter resting place, in New York State.

But bats dying from a mystery illness have been found in the snow in daylight hours.

It was broad daylight in the middle of winter, and bats flew out of the mine about one a minute. Some had fallen to the ground where they flailed around on the snow like tiny wind-broken umbrellas, using the thumbs at the top joint of their wings to gain their balance.

All would be dead by nightfall. Mr. Hicks, a mammal specialist with the state’s Environmental Conservation Department, said: “Bats don’t fly in the daytime, and bats don’t fly in the winter. Every bat you see out here is a ‘dead bat flying,’ so to speak.”

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Blogger Ben on Tue Apr 01, 04:21:00 PM:
I saw this, and was excited to email it to you -- I shouldn't have doubted that you'd see it too!