Going Batty in Austin

Texas / May 1, 2012 / by Chris
Going Batty in Austin

The name Austin, TX means many things to different people. For many, it is one of the country’s music capitals, but for others it is famous for another, slightly more obscure reason: it is home to the continent’s largest urban bat colony. 750,000 (yes, that’s the correct number of zeroes) of the little flying rodents live under the Congress Bridge in Austin.

Standing out on the bridge with hundreds of other visitors, I waited almost an hour past the predicted 8 o’clock flight time for the bats to appear. Apparently, no one told the bats that I was on a tight schedule. As dusk turned into full-fledged nighttime, we all began to wonder if this would be the first night in years that the bats decided not to show. Then, all at once, kayakers from the river below turned on red spotlights and pointed them at the bridge, revealing the huge swarm of bats that were emerging from underneath the bridge. 

In the dim light, the fast motion of their wings was almost hypnotic. While the bats moved too fast to get a good picture in the low light, I’m still thrilled that I got to experience this natural marvel. If you're ever in Austin, you should check it out!