Fool for France

I need to apologize to those of you who have been waiting for more before-and-after photos of the house, pretty shots of the utterly charming surrounding villages, etc. They are coming, I swear. But I’m going through a city kid’s “wow, countryside” phase. I’ll get over it, probably pretty soon.

Right now I’m enjoying my first extended — okay, two weeks, but for me, that’s long — stay in the house in good weather without contractors or emergencies. It’s great fun. No wonder I bought this place.

This is the owl that got into a barking match with Jacques the other day. I remember being surprised that he stood his ground, rather than fly off home. I wondered whether he was home. Now I think he probably is.

The Barn Owl Trust tells me my new resident is a Little Owl and is diurnal. He probably has a mate, not that I would be able to tell them apart. For all I know, he actually lives in one of my barns. If he chased out the pigeons, more power to him. Long term, my plan is to bird-proof the barns, so I have to figure out where to encourage him to move. I’m afraid I bird-proofed myself out of the swifts that nested here last year. I thought they would nest under the eaves, like the swallows in California, but no. Clearly more research is in order.

I had been thinking I would need to build owl houses, then hope for the best. I am delighted to see that this is not so. However, when I saw a bat house in the local garden center, I snatched it up. Here is Jacques, disapproving of the bat house.

To him they are all just little beasts, invading his turf. To me, they are all vermin catchers and, as such, to be encouraged. So the Bat Conservation Trust and Habitat for Bats are going to help me get those mosquito eaters in here. It can’t happen too soon.

11 Replies to “Birds and Bats”

  1. We have bats here…luckily just the tiny ones around the house rather than the vampire bats which plague the cattle on nearby fincas.
    We had them at the last house in France, too…they used to sleep behind the shutters and must have infested the roof space as on summer nights we would sit on the balcony and watch streams of them pouring out into the evening sky. When we had visitors we would warn them not to leave their windows open when they came down to supper to avoid what inevitably happened when they took no heed…screams in the early hours as someone seeking a loo would encounter bats whirling in the stairwell.
    I think you are right about the swifts…ours nested on the rafters in the coach house rather than under the eaves…but Susan Walter would know and might have ideas about your owl.

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    1. The funny thing is, I did leave some of their old nesting areas open to them. They have been abandoned. And I don’t see the pigeons any more, either. The pigeons are no loss. For a while I thought maybe they had become a neighbor’s dinner. Now I’m wondering whether the owl drove off the competition. He’s an aggressive little guy, no question.

      The bats could certainly get in behind the shutters. So far they haven’t, which is fine with me. I have no desire for batshit on the window sills. Now you have me worried. I don’t want bats in the stairwell, either. Seriously, if it isn’t one thing, it’s another.

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  2. Lynn

    So this is what happens when you move to the country – you go batty 🙂

    We look forward to some interesting pictures of bats once you have prepared their home and they have moved in.

    Seems like Jacques will have many new creatures with which to interact – maybe they will come to an understanding over time.

    GMN

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think Jacques’ understanding is that if it lands on the ground, it’s all his. Let’s hope the new residents stay airborne.

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  3. We have lots of bats! I had them in Kenya, where they would bang around inside my house, which was made (walls and ceiling/roof) of corrogated iron sheets. They would bash into a wall (so much for the tales about their radar), flop/flop/flop on the floor, and then take off again. I, meanwhile, hid in my down sleeping bag (stifling) until I got a mosquito net. Then, at sundown, which, on the equator is at 7 sharp, I had to go to bed, with the net tucked in around the mattress. They DID get in my hair when I dared to get up after 7 p.m. And I freaked out appropriately.
    Our current bats are smaller, and it is a long time since they’ve come into the house, thanks to screens on the windows. They do like to sleep behind the shutters on the shady side of the house, little fur balls. And they swoop around the garden, gobbling up bugs, every evening.

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  4. Having lived in Guam and SE Asia I’m familiar with folks eating the huge fruit bats that are native to the area. I tried the dish but wouldn’t recommend it and it smells horrid while cooking. Perhaps a glass of Helen’s Algerian Infuriator Red would have gone well with bat.

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    1. Yeah, perhaps a bottle, or maybe a suggestion that we go out for dinner. Yikes. bugs, guinea pigs, now fruit bats. I guess it’s my good fortune that I have never been that hungry. Algerian Infuriator Red, though, that sounds interesting.

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