Once upon a time there was a beautiful little city that had more Mexican Free Tail Bats than people. The citizens were blissfully living their ideal lives without fear of the furry hoard that dwelt among them. In 1980 the Congress Avenue Bridge that spans Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin needed to be renovated. Crevices created under the bridge by the work set up the perfect environment for the Mexican Free Tail Bat to roost. An alert citizen discovered the city’s plight and raised a call to arms. “Exterminate them!” the populous cried. There were studies commissioned and volunteers sought to rid the city of its curse. Fate however had put the right person at the right time to add some intelligence to the conversation.
Merlin Tuttle brought Bats Conservation International to Austin in the nick of time. He educated us and calmed the fears of the citizens about the bats. Now the bats are a tourist destination. An armada of boats sets out each night when the bats are in residence and provide a great time. Just remember if you are looking up from under to bridge to close your mouth. I had a chance to take Mike Pearce’s
Lone Star Riverboat cruise the other night and it is a blast. If you are in Austin and want a different experience try it out. If you do go, remember to thank Merlin Tuttle and BCI for their part in keeping Austin weird.