Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 20: That's a Lot of Bats

Did you know that Austin is home to the world's largest urban bat colony? Well you do now. That's right. My lovely city is host to a mass exodus of around 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats every night during the summer. The best part of all of this? It happens right smack in the middle of downtown!

Last night we took some friends around Austin to show off some of our fair city's highlights. One of them is thinking of moving here and wanted to see what Austin has to offer. After a tasty dinner at Shady Grove (a personal favorite of mine and the Mrs.) we hauled ass over to the Congress Avenue Bridge to watch the bats leave for the night.

We were a little disappointed when we arrived. As we walked up we could see a line of bats flying away from the bridge, but there didn't seem to be as many as we usually see and it was still pretty early. We found a spot on top of the bridge (which I prefer over watching from the park below) and waited. After 10 minutes or so it didn't seem like anything else was going to happen. We had heard the drought was causing them to leave earlier than usual, but it still seemed too early. A bit disheartened we started walking back to the car along with the droves of other people who had waited to see the bats.

Suddenly my wife turned around and told us all to stop. Out of nowhere the rest of the bats decided it was time to get up and they were leaving the bridge in a constant stream of leathery flapping wings. We hurried back to find a good spot and watched the rest of the colony leave the nest over the next fifteen minutes.

Watching the bats is just one of the many awesome things I love about living in Austin. If you've never been here I highly recommend it. Look me up. We'll do something fun. Or just wait a while. I'm sure I'll do pictures highlighting all of my favorite Austin things eventually. Maybe I can sell them in a collection as a travel guide.

**There has been some concern expressed (by my wife, and no one else really) that Michelangelo is not "following the rules" and is in danger of falling. Strangely she doesn't seem to be worried about Raph, but I assure you that Michelangelo is a trained ninja. Even if someone walked by and pushed him he wouldn't fall off the bridge.**

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