So after an hilariously bad first day on the batline (here’s the story, if you’re interested) I stuck with it and signed up to ‘man the batline’ one day a week over the winter. Here’s what happened…As you can imagine, the batline is considerably less busy over winter, as most bats are too busy being in hibernation to come out and get injured or invade people’s dining rooms in the middle of the night (!). I aim to check for messages every couple of hours. We have had a few calls, though, including two on Hallowe’en – both injured bats, as well, amazing given I thought all that would happen all day would be prank calls. Most of the time, though, it’s pretty quiet, just the occasional grounded bat or bat in the living space of a building. I’ve also helped a couple comment on a planning application next door to their home and am in the process of finding a volunteer to give a bat talk at a primary school.
There is the odd random call as well – the best so far being someone who had obviously called the batline from their pocket – I sat through about ten minutes of what sounded like them enjoying lunch with some very chatty friends before I thought it was safe to give up on that answerphone message…
My favourite part of the batline is hearing what happened to the injured bats we have rescued. OK, some don’t survive, and that’s sad, but there is nothing more heart-warming than hearing that a bat has recovered, is now strong and healthy, and has been released back into the wild. Sometimes we even hear them social calling with other bats when we release them – presumably reconnecting with roost-mates. Awwww. I try not to be too sentimental, but you’d have to have no heart if that didn’t warm your cockles.
Gratuitous cute photo of some noctule bats in a batbox:
Photo by Anna Cocker of South Lancs Bat Group
It’s well worth helping out on the batline, in my opinion. I enjoy helping people (and bats!) and it’s nice to be doing something worthwhile with my time. You don’t have to be a bat expert to contribute, you just need to be interested in bats and able to get to a phone. In fact, the Bat Conservation Trust are asking for new volunteers to join them on the national bat helpline, so do visit their website to find out more and get involved !