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January 2011, Volume 9, Number 1
See the Bats of Bracken Cave

One of the most unforgettable sights nature has to offer takes place each summer evening at the Bracken Bat Cave in Central Texas. Millions of Mexican free-tailed bats swirl up from the cave in a spiral so dense it seems at times almost like a single organism. The bats circle into the twilight sky, then fly over the rugged landscape in long, twisting columns in search of insects. By dawn, the world’s largest bat colony will have consumed up to 200 tons of insects, including many pests that ravage farm crops.

Watching a Bracken emergence is a truly awesome experience. Members of Bat Conservation International are invited to visit the cave and view the evening emergence on special Member Nights each summer. Few besides BCI members are allowed on the site.

BCI owns Bracken Bat Cave and about 700 surrounding acres and carefully protects this invaluable resource from the urban growth of nearby San Antonio, Texas. To safeguard this incredible maternity colony of free-tailed bats, visitation is extremely limited.

Reservations for the 2011 Bracken Member Nights are now being accepted. Visit www.batcon.org/bracken for details and to register.

The 2011 Member Nights Schedule

Saturday, April 30
Friday, May 13
Friday, May 27
Saturday, June 11
Saturday, June 25
Wednesday, July 6
Friday, July 8
Wednesday, July 20
Saturday, July 23
Wednesday, August 3
Friday, August 5
Wednesday, August 17
Saturday, August 20
Saturday, September 17
Saturday, October 1

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All articles in this issue:
Listening for WNS
After trudging through 30 inches of snow, two biologists finally reached the entrance of an abandoned railroad tunnel used by ...

Bats in the News
Scientists have discovered that insect-eating bats have a very handy ally in European forests: the beaver. Bats reap real ...

See the Bats of Bracken Cave
One of the most unforgettable sights nature has to offer takes place each summer evening at the Bracken Bat Cave in Central ...



Unless otherwise noted, all images are copyright ©Merlin D. Tuttle and/or ©Bat Conservation International