Nebraskaland May 2020

NEBRASKAland Magazine is dedicated to outstanding photography and informative writing with an engaging mix of articles and photos highlighting Nebraska’s outdoor activities, parklands, wildlife, history and people.

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70 Nebraskaland • May 2020 By Julie Geiser BLOWN FROM A TREE A few summers ago a thunderstorm with massive winds swept through North Platte. A friend of mine was in her front yard assessing the damage from downed branches from a tree in her yard when she came across an entangled mass lying on the ground that she couldn't identify. It looked like a cross between tree bark and some sort of mushy mushroom, and she wasn't about to touch it, so she texted a photo of it to me asking if I knew what this strange- looking thing was. Excited, I knew it was a mother eastern red bat clinging desperately onto her babies or pups. They had blown out of the tree and were on the ground where, if not assisted, could be preyed upon by dogs or cats or stepped on by unknowing people while cleaning up debris. The mother, eventually, could have gotten herself and her pups back to the tree by clawing her way through the grass with the thumbs on her wings, but it may have taken a while as the family was blown a good distance from the tree. Getting the family back to the tree was simple with some human intervention. I took a stick that had fallen out of the tree and gently nudged it next to the entangled mass. Within seconds, the mother's tiny feet and one of her pups latched onto the stick while still tightly clinging together. From there, I climbed a ladder and laid the stick into a crotch of the tree. I snapped a couple photos, turned to climb down the ladder, and when I looked back they were gone, vanished into the crevices of the tree and blending in so well I could not fi nd them. I looked several times to see if I could detect any movement but there was none. Isn't it amazing how in nature these animals are so adapted to their surroundings that sometimes we don't even know they are there? It was a great experience to get to help these little creatures survive another day and to get a glimpse of them in the wild. THE LAST STOP PHOTO BY JULIE GEISER

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