A distressed reader! "I was wondering if you've gotten any info on the mysterious black birds (bats??) that have been swarming downtown every evening around 6:30? there are hundreds of them! this is a pretty new thing too-- I've worked downtown for about 8 months and these birds/bats have only shown up in the past 2 weeks or so. please help!"
We directed the question to Barbara French, a biologist with the Bat Conservation International, an Austin, Texas-based organization that protects and studies bats. Yes, bats are about--they're migrating! Her answer and advice for our scared reader after the jump.
UPDATE, 3:03 PM PST: People are saying they're SWALLOWS, not bats. Well, we wasted Barbara's time. Can someone go catch one so we have a definitive answer?
UPDATE, 5:59 PM PST: Here's video of the SWALLOWS. Pas de bats. And we changed the headline of the post.
"This is migration time, you are likely to see a lot of bats, they are moving from their summer quarters to their winter quarters. Different species go different places, and big brown bats will sometimes hibernate in empty buildings, but most bats like caves and mines. Migration will take place till the cold weather is here.
Bats flying around in the sky aren't a problem; just never pick a bat up off the ground. If you see bat on the ground, it's probably going to be a sick or injured bat. "