Bat colony swarms Beamer, Scarsdale
A bat colony has recently been spotted under the bridge at Scarsdale and Beamer.
The bats were brought to the Leader’s attention by South Belt resident Ronnie Thomas, who owns Snowies Shaved Ice at the aforementioned intersection.
“My daughter said ‘look at all those birds,’ and I said ‘those aren’t birds,’”Thomas recalled.
Thomas said the bats emergeeach night between 8:25 and 8:35 p.m.
“It looks like a black cloud,” Thomas said.
During daylight hours, the bats can be seen hiding in crevices under the bridge.
According to the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department, the United States is home to 47 bat species. Texas is home to 33 species of bats, and the Greater Houston area is home to 11 bat species. Local varieties include the Mexican free-tailed bat, big brown bat, evening bat, Eastern red bat, Northern yellow bat, tri-colored bat (previously known as Eastern pipistrelle), hoary bat, Seminole bat, Southeastern myotis, silver-haired bat and Rafinesque’s big-eared bat (state threatened species).
The city’s website further states that, despite urban myth, bats are not blind. They have average vision, excellent hearing and the added ability to use echolocation like an extra sense.
Bats in Houston eat insects. They find their insect prey using echolocation, which is the use of ultra-high frequency sounds for navigation. The bat sends out a pulse of sound from its mouth. The sound bounces off an object, such as a moth, and then echoes back to the bat’s ears. The bat continues to send out the sound pulses until it catches the insect.
Bats are important for pest control since they eat insects and agricultural pests. Favorites on the bat menu are moths, ants and beetles. A Mexican free-tailed bat can eat as much as two-thirds of their body weight in insects.
The estimated 100 million Mexican free-tailed bats living in the Texas Hill Country could eat up to 1,000 tons of insects each night. A smaller colony of 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats located under the Waugh Drive bridge in Houston is estimated to consume around 2.5 tons of insects each night.
While bats are generally passive in nature, experts warn to not interact with them, as they may bite in self defense.
Contrary to other myths, bats aren’t particularly prone to having rabies. According to the Parks Department, less than a half of 1 percent of the animals are infected with the virus.
Bats that contract rabies usually die quickly, and people are advised to not touch ones that have been grounded.
Photo by Ronnie Thomas
The Clear Creek Independent School District has published its 2016 survey results from parents, staff, community and students.
During the 2015-2016 school year, the school district conducted four surveys, three through email and one by telephone.
The majority of responses reflected a perceived improvement of district performance over previous surveys. The data collected will be used as a means for continuous improvement for CCISD.
When asked to give CCISD a grade, 88 percent of the community gave an A or B, 83 percent of parents gave an A or B, 75 percent of students gave an A or B, and 92 percent of staff gave an A or B. When asked about the biggest challenge facing the school district, the community ranked testing and regulations (28 percent) as the top challenges followed by overcrowded schools. These challenges have shifted in rankings compared to the 2014 survey in which school funding and parental involvement were ranked at the top.
In the area of academic performance and student preparedness for the next grade level, 88 percent of parent respondents feel their child is prepared to do well in the next grade level, 83 percent say their child is receiving the kind of instruction that is appropriate for his/her abilities, and 72 percent feel the level of difficulty associated with homework is appropriate. When surveyed about the same types of questions, 88 percent of students also feel that they are prepared to do well in the next grade level, college or future career, 83 percent say they are receiving the kind of instruction that is appropriate for his/her abilities, and 84 percent believe they get the support they need to be successful. Ninety-three percent of staff believe their campus does a great job of challenging students to their full potential, compared to 87 percent in 2014.
Between 2014 and 2016, the community’s satisfaction with the district’s communications has increased from 89 percent to 91 percent. Eighty percent of parents say their student receives meaningful feedback from teachers compared to 63 percent in 2014. Eighty-one percent of students also agree that they receive helpful feedback about their work. Ninety-two percent of staff say they communicate frequently with most parents of students.
When asked to provide impressions, the community responded with an 89 percent positive impression of the school district. When asked about the leadership at the campus level, 88 percent of parents, 84 percent of students and 91 percent of staff were satisfied.
Eighty-four percent of teachers say they incorporate the use of student tablets/laptops into their lessons. Through this, 81 percent of students agree that their teachers effectively integrate technology into their teaching. The ability to use Microsoft Office applications and the ability to create projects were the two highest responses from students, staff and parents when asked which skills students are better at when using a district-issued laptop or tablet. Eighty-five percent of staff and 68 percent of students believe student learning is enhanced because of the Latitude-2-Learn program.
Community results are based from a 2016 Baselice & Associates phone survey with a 4.9 percent margin of error. The parent, student and employee results are based from email surveys. Total 2016 email survey respondents: 3,038 parents, 18,320 students and 2,270 staff members.
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with news items of interest.