April 25, 2011


As I was leaving the music building last night I noticed an enormous dragonfly perched on the wall outside...

This beautiful creature must have only recently emerged as an adult now that the weather has started to pretend to warm up. Maybe he even hatched from a nymph just this morning and soon after found himself scrambling for shelter from the cold and rain.

Not too far away, but much lower on the wall--about 6 inches off the ground and underneath a protective ledge--something else caught my eye. It could easily have been a crumpled-up leaf or piece of trash, but when I moved closer I was shocked to see a little bat clinging to the cement.

I watched it for a while without detecting any movement, but when I stroked it's fur with a long piece of dried grass I found lying nearby, the tiny furball inhaled deeply and stretched its head back to look at me for a moment before moving back into its protective huddle. I felt bad for this little guy too. He looked wet and cold and was likely very hungry. All species of bat found in Illinois are insectivores and I'm guessing it's slim pickin's during these chilly days of early spring.

There is of course nothing I can (or should) do but let nature run its course. I looked up some information about bats this morning and it looks like trying to capture and care for this one didn't seem like a very good idea for someone like me--even though that has always been my first impulse from the time I was little. For all I know, the reason he's perched so close to the ground is because he's sick--which might even make it dangerous for me to try to handle him. A more optimistic hypothesis is that he has reverted to a state of temporary hibernation where the energy demands of his system are low and he can bide his time until the temperature rises more consistently and every night becomes an insect buffet. Any species native to this area must have devised some method to cope with long, cold, miserable springs...right?

When I got to school this morning, both these critters were still there--though the dragonfly had fallen a bit lower on the wall and didn't seem to be hanging on with as firm a grip as he had last night. I'll keep watching and hoping they make it, though the continuing chilly and rainy forecast doesn't bode well.


  1. Poor things. Reminds me of the poem we read when you were young.
    The North wind doth blow
    And we shall have snow
    And what will poor Robin do then? Poor thing.
    He'll sit in a barn and keep himself warm
    And hide his head under his wing. Poor thing.

  2. I think it's wonderful that you are so aware of things around you that you noticed the plight of these little guys. That's part of why I admire you so much.