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The capital city of Texas is famous for the motto “Keep Austin Weird.” Not only is it the self-proclaimed live music capital of America, it also provides the best setting (other than a cave) to see the bats of Austin, a nightly event with millions of bats flying around that they bill as “the world’s largest urban bat observatory.” I guess I’ll take their word on that claim.
Just before sunset every night between March and November, hundreds of people gather around the South Congress Bridge for a truly weird Austin event. (Look for the cool metal bat sculpture that looks like it could have been a prop in the Batman movies to guide you there.)
Over a million Mexican free-tail bats live under the bridge and dusk is their alarm clock to come out, come out wherever they are. Usually one or two start the feeding in search of stray insects, then a few dozen emerge then wham!, a million furry critters are dive-bombing throughout the sky.
Source: Deadwords on Flickr
It’s difficult to capture on film, the photo above shows just a corner of the sky as it is darkened by all those flapping wings. The people at the bottom of the photo are on a special bat viewing cruise. Notice the one smart person on the boat who is holding an umbrella. Remember, the bats just woke up. What’s the first thing you usually do when you get up in the morning?
If you’re really into seeing the bats in Austin, make sure to visit in late August during the annual Bat Fest. Only in Austin. Keeping it weird.
There’s plenty of parking behind the offices of the local newspaper, the Austin American-Statesman. For all things batty and the latest updates on attending the nightly bat viewing go to Bats in Austin. Although the bats eat millions of insects you still may want to bring some bug spray.
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