When we think of bats, an unfavorable image often comes to mind. Whether it's the scary portrayal of them in vampire films and literature or a general fear of how their real-life counterparts might transmit viruses, bats have gotten a bad rap that's actually more fiction than fact. In fact, bats are cool!!
Over their 50 million years of evolution, bats have developed ingenious solutions to life’s challenges, from a built-in sonar system to find prey, to dexterous wings that create the fastest horizontal flight of any animal on Earth. It may surprise some people to learn that the fastest self-powered flight on Earth is the humble Mexican free-tailed bat. In 2016, researchers in southwestern Texas recorded Mexican free-tailed bats reaching speeds of up to a hundred miles per hour, easily making this 10-gram bat the fastest mammal on Earth.
In Northwest Dallas, we live close enough to the lake and creeks, that on a hot summer night, you may see the tiny Mexican free-tailed bat zooming around eating insects. Each night, bats eat their own body weight in insects and for us that means a lot fewer mosquitos! Because of this, we are so excited that Julia Kerr chose the Bachman greenbelt as one of the locations for her bat house project. For her Silver Girl Scout Award project, Julia is installing six bat houses in three different Dallas parks, two of those houses are at Bachman. Below you will see the photos of the construction and installation of some of those houses. As you can see, she has ensured that the bat house is high off the ground, in a location close to water and in an area that will receive at least four or more hours of daily sun.
Julia gained a personal interest in bats when she saw fewer bats in Dallas than in St Louis, Missouri, where she lived until 2015. Bats were commonly sited in nature preserves and in her backyard, and she knew it would be beneficial to provide roosting homes for bats in the hope of helping with pest control around local trails and parks. She started researching and planning the project in August of 2022. She developed her own design with inspiration from experts online, handled the construction and then coordinated with Dallas Park Maintenance and Operations, to make this project happen. "I hope to see the benefits of this projects and watch as bats use my houses to roost," says Julia.
We know that her bat houses are going to be a hit and congratulate her on a job well done!