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Summer In Austin: Meet the Largest Urban Colony of Bats in the World
You probably know Austin Texas for its wilderness preserve, good food, theaters, museums, parks and, of course, it’s 3-acre swimming pool - Barton Springs. But here’s another one you might not have heard of that’s among the most-loved by tourists - the Austin Bats. During the months of March through October, some 1.5 million bats emerge on the underside crevices of the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. This happens about 20 minutes before the sun sets. Every summer afternoon, hundreds of people gather together around the area to witness the bats and their fulfilled flights. These bats make Austin the largest urban bat colony in the world. These are Mexican free-trailed bats which migrate from Mexico each spring. Most of them are female and give birth in early June. These bats are usually seen emerging under the bridge from 6-9 pm. They are medium-sized, with broad, black forward pointing ears. They have reddish to dark brown fur and long, narrow wings. Their tails extend about more than a third beyond the body size. These bats help this city keep the insect population at the bay, having to eat around 30 pounds of insects each nightly flight! The best viewing site would be the east side of the bridge as these bats fly eastward over Lady Bird Lake. If you take the hillside site below the bridge, you'll get an up-close view as they emerge, but keep your eyes wide open, they are quick to disappear over trees! If you want a more dramatic view, you may want to consider the waters below the bridge. There are great kayak and canoe rentals around the area.
March to October Average Austin Sunset Times (Central Time)
- March: 7:40 p.m.
- April: 8:02 p.m.
- May: 8:21 p.m.
- June: 8:36 p.m.
- July: 8:32 p.m.
- August: 8:05 p.m.
- September: 7:28 p.m.
- October: 6:54 p.m.