The Bats Are Back, Say Hello at Camden Street Bridge

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Bats fly from the Camden Street Bridge during previous Bat Loco program. Photo courtest San Antonio River Authority.

Courtesy / San Antonio River Authority

Bats fly from the Camden Street Bridge during a previous Bat Loco program.

More than 50,000 Mexican free-tailed bats have once again made a summer home for themselves under the Camden Street Bridge on the Museum Reach of the San Antonio River and the community is invited to learn about the bats while watching their nighttime flight from underneath the bridge.

The San Antonio River Authority (SARA), Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TWPD), and Bat Conservation International (BCI) will host a public educational series Bat Loco every Tuesday from July 21 to Aug. 4. Wildlife experts from TPWD and BCI will teach community members about the importance of bats and clarify popular misconceptions – like the classic assumption that all bats have rabies and suck blood.

The Bat Loco Bash is set for August 11 from 6-9 p.m. to close out the series with a celebration of live music, booths, and children’s activities, all of which are free to the public.

Parking for the event series is available at the Hwy. 281 underpass on Newell St. and Avenue A.

The intersection of Camden and Newell streets will be closed down during each of the events, and attendees are encouraged to bring chairs and get comfortable for the lecture series from 7:30 to 9 p.m. before the bats take off around 9 p.m. The series has grown quite the following over the years, starting off with about 50 people total in 2011 and now expecting up to 700 people per evening.

Yvie Serbones, SARA community relations coordinator, said in past years the bats have flown from under the bridge earlier than expected, but she doesn’t think that will be the case this year because of the recent rains.

“Thanks to the rain there are more bugs in the area so the bats don’t have to fly as far to find food so they are taking off later,” she said.

She said she hopes the bats take off at 9 or 9:30 p.m., but their flight could end up being later.

Serbones said bats benefit the environment by eating bugs, which saves farmers millions of dollars on pesticides for their crops.

The 50,000 bats that live under the I-35 bridge are all males, and live in what is called a bachelor colony, while a group of 1.5 million female bats live under the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin. Another colony of bats congregate at Bracken Cave on the outskirts of San Antonio, which is the summer home to the world’s largest bat colony.


*Featured/top image: Bats fly from the Camden Street Bridge during a previous Bat Loco event. Photo and video courtesy San Antonio River Authority.


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6 thoughts on “The Bats Are Back, Say Hello at Camden Street Bridge

  1. Blossoms Along the River – by Don Mathis

    Many plants bloom along the river,
    even in the heat of day.
    Pride of Barbados glows
    like candles on a cake.

    Silhouettes of Palm trees
    against the sky
    appear as explosions
    on the fourth of July

    Time – and the current –
    creeps by so slow,
    almost at the speed
    the ferns and grasses grow.

    Mallards in the water
    cause ripples in the stream.
    The wake they make
    is like a blossom in a dream.

    But the wildest design,
    the strangest bloom,
    is when the bats emerge
    just before the moon.

    The flickering shapes
    stream against the sky –
    a mammalian flower,
    Free-tails on the fly!

  2. For those who have been out to see the bats this week, what time are they flying out? I’ve gone out twice and missed them.

  3. should i be concerned i just noticed that i have a lil bat that is under my patio umbrella. My kitty is the one that made me notice she kept want to climb the pole, and meowing at it…didnt notice anything until it moved at the very very top. I had it closed up for two days and today i put it up…Do you think that it will find its way back home. I didnt want to close it back up thinking I might scare it even more, since I opened the umbrella up…please advised Im not letting my kitty out until I know for sure…I just dont want her bring me a present tonight, if you know what I mean…

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