Austin residents living at Seaholm Condos have access to a unique experience that is both exhilarating and informative. Bat-watching has always been a popular pastime in Austin.
As a matter of fact, the bat population in Central Texas doubles every year after August, and up until mid-winter you can view thousands of bats as they emerge and flutter around the Congress Avenue Bridge skyline.
History of the Congress Avenue Bats
These bats have lived at the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge for years. The bridge was reconstructed in 1980, providing crevices underneath the bridge that would make the perfect roosting place and long-term habitat for the Mexican free-tail bat population.
Despite early pleas from fearful Texas residents to have the bats eradicated, they have become a tourist attraction and a bonafide natural wonder.
Bats are not only a sophisticated animal, they help to control the pest population by eating 10,000 to 20,000 pounds of insects each year, including agricultural pests. These mammals are not harmful to humans as long as they are not handled (which is why you see the “Don’t Handle Grounded Bats” signs on the trails near the bridge).
Today, the Congress Avenue Bridge provides shelter to the largest bat population located in a U.S. urban environment.
How to See the Bats in Austin
You can view this natural phenomenon along with hundreds of people that flock to many locations near the bridge to watch the bats emerge during the late afternoon and evening hours.
Some evenings afford better opportunities than others, because bat activity will change with the seasons, the time of day, and mating seasons. Also, bright lights and loud noises tend to impact the bats emergence, making a quiet, early summer or fall evening the best times witness the swarm of bats in action.
A new flock of mostly female Mexican free-tailed bats will migrate into the southwestern portions of the U.S. each spring to roost in early June. By fall, the pups become a part of the 1.5 million adult bats that leave their nests under the Congress Avenue Bridge to spiral across the Austin sky.
- Wear a hat and/or light jacket to prevent guano (or bat droppings) from landing on you.
- See the bats for free – pack an evening snack and sit or stand or the lawn near the bridge. You will find signage posted about the bats and safe locations to watch.
- Take a public boat tour that features bat sightseeing opportunities. They last about an hour and the cost is minimum.
- Get up close and personal by canoeing or kayaking from several locations near the bridge. There’s even a monthly bat float with live music to make bat seeing a great date night.
- Several restaurants have access to great bat watching views. Some are located in hotels while other restaurants near the lake provide a sheltered view of bat swarms.
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