Journey North News

Famous Bats Return to Texas

Dear Students:

Greetings from Austin, Texas! Did you all know that Austin is home to over one million bats? A colony of migratory female Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasilensis) returns from Mexico to Austin each spring to give birth to their young.

The Congress Avenue bridge, which spans Town Lake in downtown Austin is where the bats "hang-out" for the summer. Each mother bat has a single offspring in early June, and in just five weeks the babies join their mothers in flight. In one night, these bats eat 20 million pounds of insects! (That means less bugs to bother you!)

The Congress Avenue Bridge is the largest urban bat colony in North America, and has become an international tourist attraction. I hope you have an opportunity to view this unique phenomenon some day.If you can't come in person, you can read about Austin's Urban Bat Colony on BCI's WWW.

Remember boys and girls - "Bats need friends too!"


Robert Benson
Public Information Officer
Bat Conservation International.

Editors Note:

Bird watchers in Austin, Texas have spotted another Journey North migratory species recently. Since March 5th, peregrine falcons have been seen at dusk near the Congress Avenue bridge feeding on---you guessed it--the bats! Peregrine falcon biologist Skip Ambrose told us peregrines were generalists, and would prey on anything that flies. Wouldn't he be impressed?

Photo Credit: Merlin D. Tuttle

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