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April 17, 2015 / KingsIsle Community

Bat Appreciation Day and the Austin Bats

Today is Bat Appreciation Day! Since KingsIsle is located in Austin, Texas, home to the world’s largest urban bat colony, we had to take advantage of this fun holiday to tell players a little bit about the unique town we call home. One of the most interesting and unique attractions Austin has to offer is its very own bat colony!

While there are a few locations where the Austin bats live, the biggest population is right in downtown Austin, under the Congress Avenue Bridge. This bridge crosses over a reservoir of the Colorado River that runs through downtown, called Lady Bird Lake and named after former United States First Lady Lady Bird Johnson. Lady Bird Lake is a hotspot in the city for kayaking & paddle boarding, as well as running & walking the “hike and bike trail” that surrounds it, and watching the bats emerge on summer nights!

When the warmer months of the year roll around, 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats migrate from central Mexico to underneath the bridge, where they can be heard chattering during the day. Every night from March to November, just around dusk, the bats take flight by the thousands, providing the city with a unique and breathtaking tourist attraction.

bats statue

Photo by Riny

When the bats first arrived to the Congress Bridge upon the completion of its renovations in 1980, the people of Austin were not pleased with their presence. Many citizens petitioned to have them removed, fearing the worst from the stereotypically dangerous animals. But with a little bit of research, it was clear that the bats were gentle creatures and did not pose a threat to humans if they didn’t try to touch them. So, they stayed! And since then, every summer night, the bats rid the city of up to 10,000 to 20,000 pounds of insects during their flight.

roundrockbats

Photo taken by Leala of the bats in Round Rock!

Annually, more than 100,000 people head out to the Austin American Statesman Bat Observation center just off of the bridge to witness the bats’ nightly flight. Have you ever had the chance to see them?  Tell us about some unique things in your town in the comments! 🙂

111 Comments

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  1. Anonymous / Apr 18 2015 10:30 am

    wow thx Ki for sharing this wonderful world of bats with our world of wiz..
    nice to see these creatures being free and no harm

    thx Ki

  2. Cory Arp / Apr 18 2015 10:33 am

    dont forget the millions of bats that end up in the carlsbad caverns in new mexico as well.

  3. Firepower30x / Apr 18 2015 10:45 am

    My town does Fall Festival, I also live in a small town

  4. justin / Apr 18 2015 11:13 am

    we got bats here in Louisiana too!

  5. Anonymous / Apr 18 2015 11:17 am

    I’m BATMAN xD

  6. phillip cunningham / Apr 18 2015 11:42 am

    everyone thinks bat are scary and always have things like rabies or evil blood suckers but really they are a vital part of the biomes most bats eat fruit or insects not blood they help keep insect populations in check

  7. Anonymous / Apr 18 2015 12:11 pm

    I had a bat steal a ride from camp in my car one eavening. It hid in a box in my hatchback and flew out when I opened the car at home to unload. I thought it was a piece of black plastic floating around in the wind, until i finally noticed it was a bat!

  8. Anonymous / Apr 18 2015 1:24 pm

    so this is how wizards continuously use the blood bat spell…

  9. G Lewis / Apr 18 2015 1:51 pm

    Bats make me think of Ace Ventura Pet Detective…”Bumble Bee Tuna, Bumble Bee Tuna.” Haha

  10. Brian C / Apr 18 2015 1:55 pm

    A town I live close to has a yearly “ramp festival”. It’s a wild onion that is put into a lot of dishes.

  11. Anonymous / Apr 18 2015 1:55 pm

    Austin,Texas is now on my bucket list. Thank you

  12. Anonymous / Apr 18 2015 1:58 pm

    cool

  13. Anonymous / Apr 18 2015 2:10 pm

    I love bats, so I love this day 😀

  14. lumfan / Apr 18 2015 2:24 pm

    The only thing unusual about my home town (not the one I live in) is the nicknames of the high school and the middle school. Town is the home of the Bunnies and the Scotties (I kid you not).

  15. littlefluffykitten / Apr 18 2015 2:29 pm

    Something unique about where I come from. Well.. There are over 20,000 miles of snowmobile trails and it’s the home of the largest cross country ski race in the US, the American Birkebeiner. There are also 26,767 miles of streams and rivers! It’s the greatest place and I wouldn’t change it ❤

  16. Anonymous / Apr 18 2015 2:32 pm

    I think this is a kind holiday also I love bats because they eat Mosquitos!

  17. Anonymous / Apr 18 2015 4:51 pm

    I live there and I go to see the bats and I always get bat poop on me, gross!

  18. Anonymous / Apr 18 2015 4:58 pm

    interesting article ty

  19. Anonymous / Apr 18 2015 5:23 pm

    had a baby bat hanging out side my window its was so cool i called animal rescue to come can get it they did i never seen one up close that day i did i loved it

  20. Linda E Belew / Apr 18 2015 5:27 pm

    One year had a baby bat on hanging outside my window was so cool i never saw a bat up close that day i did i called animal rescue they came and got the little baby

  21. Anonymous / Apr 18 2015 5:51 pm

    i got to see the bats before it was pretty cool. I also got to go in a bat cave and at the very end they out a mc donalds … o amercia

  22. Anonymous / Apr 18 2015 6:35 pm

    I’ve been to Austin many times to see the bats. It is a real treat to see them fly and amazing to see them congregated underneath the bridge before they fly. My town has ripping tides, seals and Seagulls. This is a great country to live in. Every state has its own ambiance and beauty

  23. hannah / Apr 18 2015 6:42 pm

    interesting stuff! I like it.

  24. Bruce Wayne / Apr 18 2015 7:04 pm

    Now, I’m not saying I’m Batman. I’m just saying no one’s ever seen me and Batman in the same room together.

  25. Anonymous / Apr 18 2015 7:17 pm

    Live up in Round Rock – We’ve got some decent bats too 🙂

  26. Anonymous / Apr 18 2015 8:11 pm

    My town is small, about 940 residents, but we have bluegill frolic every year to celebrate all the natural lakes. We don’t have large bat colonies, but we can see bats just about every evening, them and their reflections chasing insects the as sunset’s last moments cast colors across the surface of the water. I like bats too. They have incredibly soft fur.

  27. dan / Apr 18 2015 8:40 pm

    use to love watching them swarm of bats in the summer evenings in my small town in so cal

  28. julian / Apr 18 2015 8:51 pm

    When i was little i wanted a bat as a pet…

  29. Amelia / Apr 18 2015 9:38 pm

    An interesting thing about my hometown where I was born is that it is where “Cashew Chicken” was invented. Not chicken with cashews, but a specific dish called Cashew Chicken. Google it – it was created by Mr. Leong. 🙂

  30. roy / Apr 18 2015 10:06 pm

    i love the bats!

  31. Ryan / Apr 19 2015 3:07 am

    Bats do not have feathers and once given birth the mother and the baby only have thirty minutes to recognize each others scent and sound before the cord breaks.

  32. Anonymous / Apr 19 2015 8:20 am

    I was in Fort Hood / Killeen, Texas for five years and had no idea that would have been really cool to see

  33. Anonymous / Apr 19 2015 9:23 am

    in Wisconsin (Madison) there is a middle school that has starlings similar to the bats photo. it is online. I went to that school and I never noticed the birds; then I saw it online, WOW! awesome!
    needless to say I saved the photo. I wonder, does that mean the school is for the birds? 🙂 🙂 lol

  34. Ghost / Apr 19 2015 11:00 am

    It must a be a awesome site to view. We have bats an it is interesting to watch at dusk. Sometime throw a small ball in air an watch them follow it down.

  35. Anonymous / Apr 19 2015 12:31 pm

    Bats are the literary symbol for protection

  36. Anonymous / Apr 19 2015 12:43 pm

    My grandpa used to feed me bat

  37. kornel pascal / Apr 19 2015 1:56 pm

    lol

  38. Anonymous / Apr 19 2015 4:45 pm

    I was unaware that there was a holiday celebrating bats. That is so cool!

  39. wolf / Apr 19 2015 4:53 pm

    awesome post

  40. Anonymous / Apr 19 2015 6:57 pm

    I live in australia we don t see many bats haven t seen one

  41. Cynthia / Apr 19 2015 7:25 pm

    I’d love to visit there one day 🙂 I bet it’s wonderful to see …

  42. Sydney Silverheart / Apr 19 2015 7:38 pm

    I lub bats

  43. Anonymous / Apr 19 2015 8:12 pm

    imma bat 🙂

  44. Anonymous / Apr 19 2015 8:27 pm

    I would much rather have the bats than all those insects. Bats are sweet!

  45. paula zaremba / Apr 19 2015 8:32 pm

    i would love to go to Austin to see the Bats . I think that would be . one of the greatest sites anyone could see. love them Bats

    • Anonymous / Apr 19 2015 8:39 pm

      think it would be awesome to see the bats fly out from under the bridge . Love them Bats

  46. Deb / Apr 20 2015 7:54 am

    Every year we have the Queen’s Cup horse race, where everyone dresses up in fancy clothes. I like horses but I like going to the Raptor Center to see the eagles and owls too.

  47. Anonymous / Apr 20 2015 6:52 pm

    My cousins live in Texas!

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