Austin’s Urban Bats

Every year from March through mid-November, one can observe a bat population flying out at dusk from beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge in downtown Austin. 1.5 million bats of mostly female colony live inside the crevices of the bridge, having migrated from central Mexico. These small free-tailed bats spiral out quickly in dark flurries, searching for food every night. We walked over on Lady Bird Trail and waited with others to watch this natural event. When it got dark, we saw one bat fly out, then another one. Bats flew out from beneath the bridge from all direction, one by one at first, and then finally as it got even darker, a stream of them dotted the night sky. As it got darker it was harder to see them, but we continued to stay until most of them were all out.

Many locals and tourists waited patiently on the bridge and on trail for the bat viewing, while others waited on water, coming by kayak and boat.

Do you see the lone bat?

And then came three more.

And some more…

If you look closely at what appears like black smears beneath the bridge, those are the bats. You can see some of them better near the bridge’s railings on the upper left as they are flying upwards.

I recorded the viewing as well, but because it was too dark it was harder to see. I chose a tourist’s video below to share instead because it’s not as dark and you can see the bats spiraling out.

We saw the bats flying out another time when we were out biking, but we couldn’t observe as closely as we did here. Yesterday night was an actual outing for it, and it was definitely a cool sight. If you’re visiting Austin in spring or summer, be sure to check out Austin’s urban bats!

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