According to the Austin (Texas) Chamber of Commerce, as many as 1.5 million bats live under the Congress Avenue Bridge at the peak of, I guess, “bat season.” It’s the largest urban bat colony in North America. So it’s said.
The bats are (I’m a journalist, I’ve looked up this stuff) Mexican free-tailed bats. They leave at dusk, from March through April, to do their batly duty — eating insects, from what I gather — and return before the sun comes up to hang upside down and snooze the day away. That’s the story.
So the family, in Austin earlier this week for a college visit (and to escape the pollen), decided to see this phenomenon for ourselves. We parked in the Austin American-Statesman parking lot. (It’s a newspaper … lots of empty employee parking spaces.) We joined several hundred other spectators there, on the south shore of Lady Bird Lake, and on the bridge overhead.
And we waited for the sun to set. And waited. For a veritable cloud of bats to wing its way into the night.
I saw, like, three bats.
But Austin is nice.