A post from Mary:
Little known fact about me: I used to have an elaborate dead animal collection. Mostly birds. It was part of my dowry, and the frozen brown paper bag traveled from the homestead to the rental home when we married. I had collected it over the years, often finding perfectly intact specimens on the bridge at the end of our farm lane, most likely traveling the freeway of the stream and getting hit by cars as they flew over the bridge. I would identify them and tag them with the date and where and how I came to have them in my possession. Then in the freezer, in the brown sack they'd go. A budding naturalist. Maybe a slightly unusual collectible. But, when we moved to our home, I decided to toss them. Some of them were pushing a decade of age. It was time.
I give you that background information about me so you are not shocked when you read ahead…
It is a nice day. I go for a jog. I find a perfectly wonderful dead bat on the road. I must bring it home. I am only about one mile from home. My hands are sweaty, but I can carry it. The kids just must see this fellow.
Bats tend to evoke scary thoughts and images. But have you ever really seen one? They are incredibly intricate, beautifully made little flying teddy bears. I don't think I know a softer fur. Tiny little faces with little snouts and pricked ears. Silky, but super tough wings.
So we got out the field guide. I knew what kind it was, but I wanted my gang to go through the steps and figure it out. We examined, measured, mapped. A male Red Bat. Lasiurus borealis.
And when we were done, guess where he ended up? Bagged, and in the freezer. Maybe the beginnings of the next generation of dead animal collections.