|Mexican freetail bats emerge from
the Congress Avenue Bridge, Austin, TX
Austin, Texas is
home to the largest colony of bats in North America living in an
urban environment. The colony lives under the Congress Avenue
bridge over Town Lake. Located about a mile south of the state
capitol in downtown Austin, this
bridge offers one of the most picturesque spots in the world to
view bat flights, especially during late summer. With a
population of one to three million Mexican freetail bats, the Congress
Avenue Bridge is home to the largest urban bat colony in North
America. Thousands of tourists witness the bats' twilight emergence,
from March through November.
Central Texas has many other large bat colonies, including Bracken
Cave northwest of San Antonio (twenty million bats,) the Eckert James
River Bat Cave near Mason (six million bats) and a new urban bat colony
living under a bridge on IH-35 near Round Rock, Texas. Throughout Texas,
road bridges are being designed to attract new colonies of friendly
and beneficial bats.
In tribute to our winged friends, the citizens of Austin have erected a
bat sculpture on
Congress Avenue, just south of the bridge. The local professional hockey
team is even named the Austin Ice Bats!
More information about the bats of Central Texas can be obtained from
Bat Conservation International.
They publish a Viewer's
Guide to the Bats of Texas. You can also call them at +1-512-327-9721.