Just A Drop In The Bucket… With Bats!

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Do you have a bucket list? I have one that I try to add to when the mood strikes. The trip to Austin last week gave me the opportunity to cross something off. The Kid and I got a chance to see the Congress Bridge Bats!

For those of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, Congress Street is one if the main thoroughfares in Austin and there is a bridge over the river that had construction done on it years ago. The rebuild left crevices all underneath that apparently created the perfect bat habitat.

Congress Street Bridge - AustinThousands of bats moved in and every night from about March to October they swirl out and fly off in search of dinner. Do bats swarm? A flock if bats? Dunno, but I’m talking major bat cluster. Right now about 750,000.

It’s a big event for tourists and locals alike, and people line up every night along the bridge to watch. Since it’s a fitness city, people also kayak, paddleboard, and row out under the bridge. The Kid and I opted for the riverboat tour.

The boatload left well ahead of time and toured the river. It gave us a chance to see some of the sights in the city from a different vantage point while the guide gave us background and interesting facts. As the sun set, we headed back to the bridge for the mass exodus.

Some interesting Congress Street Bat Facts:

  • There are 750,000 bats there right now in the bridge. I assume this is an estimate and not sure how they counted them.
  • All of them are female. The steamy hot environment in the crevices under the bridge is ideal for females. The males prefer open spaces like trees and attics.
  • All of them are pregnant and giving birth during the first two weeks in June. So quickly there will be 1,500,00 bats!
  • They are tiny and fit in the palm of your hand.
  • They come out every night and eat bugs and insects. Austin loves that they help control mosquitoes.
  • They constantly chatter with high pitched squeaks. There was all kinds of noise under the bridge. You couldn’t miss that they were there.
  • They smell like corn tortillas. The air was filled with it. Strange but not unpleasant.

We “parked” on the boat at the bridge with everyone and got to watch the event. It was a pretty cool adventure! There were several boats gathered for the tour and they all had red lights to shine. The lights made it possible for us to see the bats in the dark but didn’t disturb their eyesight or flights.

The adventure was worth the trip. Take a road trip to Austin, TX and see the bats. Done and crossed off the list! I have a couple more items that will be crossed off in a couple weeks. Stay tuned…

What’s on your list? Have you ever smelled corn tortilla bats? 😉

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