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Group finds 29 big brown bats in Academy building

SALISBURY — As the sun went down over the Northwest Corner, the night sky came to life during the Bat Talk and Count on Thursday, Aug. 4, at the Academy Building on Main Street.

Wildlife biologist and bat specialist Devaughn Fraser led the discussion at Scoville Memorial Library before sunset. She and her team from state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) fielded questions from inquisitive guests and provided a wealth of information on local bat populations.

“There are nine species of bats in Connecticut and we love them all,” said Fraser. “The bats we will see tonight are called Big Brown Bats” (Eptesicus fuscus).

At sundown, the group migrated to Academy Street to witness the bats heading out for their nightly flight.

The partnership between the Salisbury group and DEEP began last year as the Salisbury Association sought options on how to mindfully manage their upstairs neighbors in the Academy Building.

There is much to consider when sharing a space with airborne mammalians, which is why the Salisbury Association called in Fraser.

She conducted studies and advised on measures that can be taken to make cohabitation possible. This is an especially challenging task considering the historical status of the Academy Building.

“We’re looking into options like washable insulation to help manage the guano,” said Abeth Slotnick, a trustee of the Salisbury Association.

As part of her work, Fraser keeps a count of the bats on-site. Attendees were provided clickers to help keep track as the bats departed from the eaves of the roof.

At the end, the official count was 29 bats. “We may have to make this an annual event!” said Fraser.

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