Mexican Bat LbNA # 15876 (ARCHIVED)
|Placed Date||Jun 17 2005|
LB is missing again. I'm tired of recarving!
Difficulty: Kid friendly; highly trafficked area.
One of the most amazing sights in Austin takes place every evening from March to early November, when 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from their roosts under the Congress Avenue Bridge. When engineers reconstructed downtown Austin's Congress Avenue Bridge in 1980 they had no idea that new crevices beneath the bridge would make an ideal bat roost. Although bats had lived there for years, it was headline news when they suddenly began moving in by the thousands. It is now considered the largest urban bat population in North America. On the nightly flights out from under the bridge, the Austin bats eat from 10,000 to 30,000 pounds of insects.
The Congress Avenue Bridge is in Downtown Austin, just 10 blocks south of the State Capitol building. The bridge spans Town Lake at the cross streets of Cesar Chavez to the north and Barton Springs Road on the south. The Austin American-Statesman's Bat Observation Center is on the southeast side. The center is not a building but an open circular area with a semi-circle of waist-high information stands. Nearby is a four-sided information kiosk. The letterbox is attached by a hook to the inside of the west panel about 10 inches up from the bottom, suspended, but also resting on a ledge. Be quick as this is a highly trafficked area. Also, please tie the box back together tightly with the shoestring. Thanks!
Once you’ve replaced the box, continue a short distance south to see the interesting bat scupture in the middle of the intersection of Barton Springs Road and Congress Avenue. It's called "Nightwing" and it's by Dale Whistler (1998).
Parking: After about 5pm, Austin American-Statesman's west parking lot at 305 South Congress Avenue, near the Bat Observation Center. Extra parking is available at the Texas Dept. of Transportation offices, located around the corner off Riverside Drive.
Bat Flight Time: The bats arrive at the bridge in mid-March and return to Mexico in early November. While in residence, they astonish visitors with their spectacular emergence display at dusk. For updates and approximate emergence times, please call the Austin American-Statesman/Bat Conservation International's - Bat Hot Line: 512-416-5700 (Category 3636) for the latest flight times. Also, please consult the website www.batcon.org for driving directions, a map, pictures, and much more information on the bats.