There’s a fine line between “Wow! that’s cool!” and “Run for your lives!”
While I couldn’t be a bigger bat enthusiast and have spelunked, paddled and hiked to the remotest places in the continental United States to see swarms of bats, I recognize that there are still some out there that are squeamish about the night flyers. For some, the sight of thousands of bats flying overhead might provide the inspiration for nightmares for weeks. In fact I still recall my little sisters paddling in circles at dusk on a lake in upstate New York. Bats harmlessly swarmed about their heads. The nocturnal navigators sought the insects that hovered over the sisters’ heads and the poor creatures had the added obstacles of canoe paddles waving through the night sky and young girls screaming. I love that memory.
Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) strikes fear in few. They serve a similar purpose in the grand scheme of things. They feed on aerial insects as bats do, but you can see them in the sunlight. They have no teeth or leathery wings and thus do not suffer the prejudices of their nocturnal mammalian counterparts.
As benign as they may seem, it is absolutely imperative to keep your mouth shut during such air shows. It’s not that speaking would frighten a flock of thousands. They make enough peeps, chirps and squawks to rival an airboat. It’s the “precipitation” that rains down on me on this cloudless day.
I could care less. It’s worth it to see such a display. I only wish my sisters were here to see it as well.