Sunday, February 15, 2009

Heading to Austin for SAA?

Bats heading out for the night. Taken atop the Congress Avenue Bridge, Austin, Texas, 9 October 2005.

It's probably a little early to start thinking about heading down to Austin for the 2009 joint annual meeting of the Society of American Archivists and the Council of State Archivists, but if you are thinking about Austin, here's a handy list of some cool things you can see and do while you're there.

Sadly, this article neglects to mention my favorite thing about Austin: the huge bat colony that lives under the Congress Avenue Bridge. According to the very cool folks at Bat Conservation International, the colony, which consists of approximately 1.5 million individuals, is the largest urban bat colony in the world. During the summer and fall, people congregate on the banks of the Colorado River or on top of the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk to watch the bats fly out from under the bridge and begin their nocturnal hunt. Seeing these beautiful, delicate creatures in flight is amazing, and anyone staying at the Hilton Austin or another downtown hotel should easily be able to find a good vantage point.

There's no need to bring bug repellent: the bats eat around 20,000 pounds of insects every night.

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