Whether a bat enthusiast or not, people from across the globe love to visit and watch bats in Austin. It’s one of the most visited local Austin, Texas attractions each year.
People are simply batty for Austin’s world-renowned Mexico free-tailed bats and their night flight of 60-plus miles per hour and 2-mile high flight patterns, and feeding frenzy of Austin insects.
Thanks to Lady Bird Lake, formerly Town Lake, circa 1980 renovations making a home for the bats in Austin, Texas, the South Congress Bridge, also known as the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, bats put on a nightly spectacular show of dynamic aerial flight typically lasting 45 to 60 minutes long.
Everyone has become fond of Austin’s Congress Avenue Bridge bats, whether a visiting tourist or a local resident. Bats in Austin under the South Congress Bridge entertain and amaze all walks of life, from the youngest to the oldest.
About the Bats in Austin
From March through September of each year, large groups of locals and tourists visit bats in Austin, Texas. Nearly one and a half million bats in Austin call the South Congress Bridge home during this time period.
Each evening, many bat enthusiasts and watchers stake out lookout spots below and above the South Congress Bridge. It’s one of the best places to view the South Congress Bridge Bats, also known as Brazilian or Mexican free-tailed bats. They emerge and shoot out drop the bridge daily for their nightly feeding and aerial show.
The bats in Austin are medium-sized bats with broad, black, forward-pointing ears, and wrinkled lips, long and narrow wings. They typically attain reddish to dark brown or gray fur color. Their tails extend more than one third beyond the size of their body. This offers bats in Austin great flight patterns and precision.
The bats of the South Congress Bridge in Austin, Texas also help keep Austin’s insect population at bay and in check. They eat roughly 20-30 thousand pounds of insects on each night flight.
Most bat colonies of a million or more can consume up to 250 tons of a variety of insects in a given night.
Drawn to areas with water access and warm conditions, most bats in Austin delight in moths, crickets, grasshoppers, and Texas-size mosquitoes. The South Congress Bridge offers these types of insects in great numbers.
Various bat watching locations across Texas
In addition to bats in Austin, Texas living under the South Congress Bridge, bats also congregate in large numbers in the following places:
- In various caves of the Texas Hill Country
- The sides of buildings
- Various Texas caves and caverns
- Hancock Center and IH35
- McNeil Overpass and Interstate 35 bridge in Round Rock, Texas
- Bracken Cave just south of Austin (the largest colony of this bat type)
Viewing Bats In Austin Information
Come join tourists, local bat watchers, and bat enthusiasts for a batty night of fun experiencing Austin’s South Congress Bridge Bats.
Oh yes, and don’t forget to bring your blankets and covers for the grass-covered area. Be sure to wear a hat or bring some other head covering. We would hate for bat droppings to land on your do by chance.
Please ensure all items you bring to watch bats in Austin are bat-friendly for everyone’s bat viewing and watching experience.
Please do show up early enough to take advantage of first-serve free parking, and learn about the Nightwing sculpture located onsite.
Other non-paid and paid parking is located near Auditorium Shores as well as the Austin Statesman.
So, it goes without saying, but please no handling of these beloved bats. Why? Remember, we are visitors within their habitat, and must do our best to keep it clean from pollution and contamination. Picking up and throw away any trash you see in a trash bin.
Our beloved bats will greatly appreciate and reward all of us, continuing to call and make Austin, Texas their home. The bats provide us with opportunities to create lasting memories with each spectacular nightly spring and summer aerial show too.
For more specific updates and information as it pertains to visiting bats in Austin, Texas, and surrounding areas, please contact the Bat Conservation International at 512-327-9721.
Also, we invite you to explore other bat-watching sites throughout Texas.