Remove old pier? Thousands of bats would be homeless

As dusk turned to darkness, 2,251 mouse-sized brown bats and Yuma bats flitted from beneath the 3,000-foot-long pier that spans Chapman Bay on Puget Sound, bound for a night of feeding on aerial insects at places like Capitol Lake in Olympia, Wash.

The bats -- all females -- would return that night to feed thousands of even smaller, hairless babies, many of them born within the last week at what is the largest known maternal bat colony in Washington state.

There’s still much to learn about these nocturnal creatures that weigh no more than a nickel. For example, researchers don’t know where they scatter to when they leave the roost in late summer. About the only thing certain about the bats is that their future here is uncertain. The state Department of Natural Resources has started work on plans to remove some of the man-made structures that clutter the shoreline and nearshore areas at the conservation preserve to improve water quality and tidal flows and create a more natural habitat

Read the full story at