Congress Avenue Bridge Bats, 2

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife

The Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, boasts a bat population numbering 1.5 million, making it a unique and appreciated tourist attraction. But that wasn’t always the case, says Barbara French.

There were modifications done to the bridge that ended up making just the perfect sized crevices underneath the bridge. There probably had been bats there for sometime, but they began moving in, in larger numbers then. It drew the attention of, you know, many different kinds of people and people began being worried, and thinking that this was a danger to the city. They were actually considering exterminating those bats.

French is a Biologist and Science Officer for Bat Conservation International. She says Austin had a change of heart about the bats thanks to Merlin Tuttle.

Merlin Tuttle, who is the founder of Bat Conservation International, was headquartered in Wisconsin, and he came here and talked to a lot of officials and explained that the bats were actually a tremendous benefit and was able to protect the colony. Once the colony started growing and once people started realizing just how important these bats were in helping to control the insect pests, they became more interested in having the bats. As it became a unique site and known to people around the country, and then even around the world, people began coming to Austin to visit just specifically to see these bats.

Learn more about Austin’s Congress Avenue Bridge bats at

That’s our show for today…with research and writing help from Loren Seeger…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

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