Houston’s distinct downtown skyline, two miles east, offers a striking juxtaposition when as many as 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) take flight from the Waugh Drive Bridge.

Bats silhouetted in the sunset. Photo by Amanda Stronza.

The bridge, which spans a section of the slow-moving Buffalo Bayou, shelters the migratory bats beginning in March into October, with peak numbers of bats witnessed during the summer and early fall. Nightly, weather permitting, the bats emerge from the understructure of the bridge, beginning with a trickle of bats and increasing in numbers – never failing to impress those who show up to watch.

Texas Parks and Wildlife directs viewers to viewing locations and provides information on Friday night “bat chats.” The Buffalo Bayou Partnership offers additional information and provides bat-viewing boat tours, dependent on weather and water levels.