SLT in the News

Presentation busts bat myths at Rush Ranch

Author: By Sarah de Crescenzo, Daily Republic
Date: Jan 15, 2011

FAIRFIELD - A tiny, brown California myotis bat squirmed under the bright light, unamused at being awoken during the day.

She was one of the stars of a presentation about bats held Saturday at Rush Ranch, the educational center owned by Solano Land Trust.

Presenter Corky Quirk, founder of wildlife rescue organization Northern California Bats, introduced three bats to the audience.

Each bat had a turn in the spotlight and was projected onto a big screen so attendees could compare the anatomical details of the tiny animals.

Quirk also used a slideshow to discuss bat feeding habits, habitats, migration patterns and species.

"For most of us, we learned about bats through the movies," she said.

The presentation debunked some of the myths about bats, such as that they live on blood (only three species, none in North America) and are blind (they see black and white.)

Susanne Watson of Fairfield and her husband brought their three sons to the bat presentation.

"They're just really into science so we thought it would be a fun family adventure," she said.

The boys learned new facts about bats and contributed to the presentation by answering some of the questions Quirk posed.

"I never knew (bats) were so small," Jaron Watson, 10, said.

Jaron also learned that the noises bats make that are audible to the human ear are communication sounds, and not echolocation, which is too high a frequency for humans to hear.

Woodland residents Patty and Tim Fong came to walk the dog-friendly Suisun Hill trail with their pet at the ranch and stayed for the bat presentation.

"I had no idea there was a quarter million bats living under the (Yolo Causeway) bridge," Tim Fong said.

The colony is the largest in California, Quirky said.

She will be back with her bats, who are used for education because they have injuries that would not allow them to survive in the wild, for the ranch's 21st annual open house on April 30.

For more information, visit http://www.solanolandtrust.org.

Reach Sarah de Crescenzo at 427-6935 or sarahdc@dailyrepublic.net.