Archive for March, 2011

Bats and Bridges

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

When it comes to housing, bats are adaptable. In Texas, for example, millions of Mexican free-tailed bats live comfortably in crevices under bridges.

06—We know from our studies of bats that there’s a very high percentage, especially in Central Texas that, if you build it they will come.

Bat attracting bridges go up annually in Texas, and Mark Bloschock (bloss-shock), says in order to accommodate bats’ needs, he would “listen” to them.

18—Bats can’t speak to us in English, so they can’t tell us whether this housing that they find in the made environment – or let’s say the man-made environment – is preferred housing or whether it’s desperation housing. But when they go in there to raise their young in these nursery colonies, we think that it must be preferred housing.

Bloschock retired from TxDot, where he was a civil engineer, and dealt with bats and bridges. It generally doesn’t cost more to construct bat friendly bridges, yet when bats colonize under them, especially in agricultural areas, everyone profits thanks to their voracious appetite for insect pests.

11—And that means the farmers have to spray less insecticides, or they spray significantly less insecticides. It’s good for us because we eat food with less use of insecticides and we eat food that’s produced cheaper.

You don’t have to build a bridge in your backyard to attract bats; a bat house will do nicely. Go to for more information.

That’s our show…for Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Bats: Bug Eating Machines

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

Millions of Mexican Free-tailed bats have begun their springtime return to Texas where they will bear their young and eat tons of pesky insects.

05—The Mexican free-tailed bat in particular is really valuable for agricultural purposes.

Meg Goodman served as Parks and Wildlife’s bat biologist.

13—Current research has shown that these bats can save farmers up to two sprays of pesticides per year because of all the insect pests that they’re eating. They’re eating things like the corn earworm moth and the cotton boll worm moth, among other crop pest species.

In addition to eating their weight in insects pests each evening, their nightly flights from inside caves and under bridges has become tourist attractions statewide.

14—Just their numbers and nightly emergences bring in a lot of tourist dollars to a lot of small communities and big communities like Austin. It’s one of our top tourist destinations right here in Austin. But they do provide a lot of dollars through nature tourism through a lot of our smaller communities throughout the state.

Certain bridges are favorite roosts of this flying mammal. And tomorrow we meet a man who builds bridges with bats in mind.

07—I would say that they type of bridges we build that would accommodate bats, we probably build about 30 of those statewide every year.

That’s our show for today…thank you for joining us…for Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Dispelling Myths About Bats

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

Despite improved public relations, some people remain terrified of bats.

04—A lot of people fear bats because of a lot of myths and superstitions associated with them.

Meg Goodman is the former bat biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife. She said bats would not purposely entangle themselves in your hair, or attempt to suck your blood.

08—We do a lot of work to get the message across that bats are actually very, very beneficial for us, and they’re very gentle creatures and very interesting to learn about and learn from.

Thanks to the work of people like Goodman and organizations like Bat Conservation International, we’re beginning to develop an appreciation for bats. In fact, we have even started to look forward to seeing certain bats—such as the Mexican free tail—that winters in Mexico and summers in Texas.

12—The Mexican free-tailed bat is probably one of our most common bats in the state, and people know it because it lives in such large numbers in places such as bridges and caves and makes nightly emergences that many people can come out and watch.

Tomorrow how these furry fliers benefit man.

05—The Mexican free-tailed bat, in particular, is really valuable for agricultural purposes.

That’s our show for today…thank you for joining us…we record our series at Block House Studios in Austin… the bat capital of Texas…for Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

White Bass Run

Monday, March 21st, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

For a family friendly, memory-making, spring break getaway—you can’t beat Colorado Bend State Park, and the white bass run. Our State Park guide, Bryan Frazier has more.

55—And at Colorado Bend, when the white bass run is on, it could be one of the best in the state of Texas. You can catch lots of fish, get kids involved and other people, and really share a memory that you might not be able to find anywhere else, or any other time of year. Well, before I turned on this machine, you shared a memory, and you said that you took your mom and son. Tell me about that. Well, I took my mother and my young son who hadn’t fished much either last year; it was one of the best white bass runs at Colorado bend that we had in a long, long time. The water levels were up, and we took our little boat, and we had a ball. We put the boat in the water and moved upstream just a few hundred yards, and started catching white bass, and we caught them for a couple hours. We kept, you know, enough for us to eat, and white bass are great to eat, so I recommend doing that when you know what the bag limits and the length limits are. We had a time that I know I’ll remember for the rest of my life, and probably my mom and little boy will as well. So, get outdoors and enjoy that—it’s spring break—white bass run…Colorado bend. That’s a great recipe right there for a lot of fun.

Thanks, Bryan.

That’s our show for today…with funding provided by Chevrolet…building dependable, reliable trucks for more than 90 years.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Far West Texas Wildlife Trail Map

Friday, March 18th, 2011

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife recently completed the ninth and final map in its Great Texas Wildlife Trails map series.

05—And that is the Far West Texas Wildlife Trail map, which just launched in December of 2010.

Shelly Plante oversees nature tourism for Parks and Wildlife. The latest map, divided into 10 loops, features 57 sites.

21—It stretches from Midland-Odessa down to Sanderson, Big Bend, and up all the way to El Paso. So, we go over two different time zones in this trail. In other trails, we’ve tried to keep sites within a half hour of other sites; in West Texas we’ve had to make that within a couple hours within the closest sites, but in West Texas standards—that’s close.

You’ll find the GPS coordinates for each site on the map, as well as relevant information. Some of the wildlife viewing sites included on this map may surprise you.

18—A golf course is involved… RV parks…and things that you wouldn’t necessarily think of as wildlife viewing sites—but they are. They’re protected habitat, and they’re these green oases, in the middle of Far West Texas, so they really do make good wildlife viewing site. But they aren’t necessarily what you would think of as a visitor. So, they’re perfect sites for a map like this.

Download any of the nine maps of the Great Texas Wildlife Trails from the Texas Parks and Wildlife website, and experience the wild(life) side of nature.

That’s our show… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.