Top 10 Places in the U.S. to See Bats has compiled a list of the best bat-viewing sites around the country. We show you the reason for the ranking: we prefer big bat numbers, close to where people live or exotic bat species. The top 10 has at least one from each region.

Bat-viewing got its start in Austin. The city, along with  Bat Conservation International, transformed seeing bats at night from a nuisance to a major tourist attraction. Austin accidentally built itself a model bat house in the Congress Avenue Bridge and BCI stepped in to show us all how to enjoy the show. Instead of having to tear down a major bridge, Austin celebrates its bats. Mayor Lee Effingel just announced that Austin will now have an annual Night of the Bat celebration in June and he wants the bat to be the city’s official animal. Adam West will appear, they’re be a screening of a batman movie and BCI will have a live bat show. The great thing about Austin is, you don’t even have to go out of your way to see bats; after dusk they’re all over.

Texas is definitely bat central, but plenty of places around the country have great bat fly-outs. State and federal parks get in on the action with summertime dusk bat events. White-nosed syndrome has wiped out about a million bats nationwide, according to BCI. The caves in the northeast are hit especially hard, with 90% of the bats in Hibernia, NJ, wiped out, according to

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Biologist Leads Bat and Owl Tours in Central Park

Biologist Robert DeCandido, PhD, leads fun tours of wildlife in Central Park (along with Deb Allen). He’s let us publish his notes from the week and from NYC birding history.

We have added two Eastern Screech-owl walks in Central Park this week – details are below. And for those of you in the Bronx on Wednesday evening, 5 August, Bob will be doing a slide-talk on the 11 owl species that have been found in NYC (including the 6 species have bred here; overall 12 owl species occur in New York State) – at the Bartow-Pell Mansion in the Bronx (Pelham Bay Park) at 7:30pm. Following the talk there will be an owl walk on the grounds…all of this for $5 adults and $3 for kids. More details:This week the Bird Walk announcements takes a summer foray to the cooler parts of our area – coastal Queens and Brooklyn to the far far east end of the Long Island Sound.

We feature historical notes about nesting Prairie Horned Larks (Queens); breeding Skylarks and September migrant Turkey Vultures (Brooklyn); and a wonderful tale of the Man-O’-War Bird on Gardiner’s Island (Suffolk County). These were made between 1857-1886.

Our feature (summer) bird photos this week also come from a cooler place: the south shore of Nassau County – next to the ocean: Black skimmer Common tern Pair of black skimmers=====================================Good! Here are the bird walks for this week ($5):

1. Thursday evening, August 6th: $5. Owls and Bats of Central Park

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Show Caves Take Show Precautions for Bats

The next time you visit Howe Caverns, you might be asked to wipe your feet to save the bats. The Fish and Wildlife Service recently asked people to stay out of caves, fearing they might spread white-nosed syndrome, which is devastating bats in the northeast. The precaution is two-fold: they also don’t want cavers disturbing hibernating bats because waking up costs them a lot of energy.The AP reports commercial caves, also known as show caves, are getting in on the act by asking people to wipe their feet on antifungal mats. Really I think is more of a show precaution for show caves. Throngs of tourists make these caves unappealing to bats. The tourists tend to stay on well-worn paths. And they’re more likely a family visiting a random cave on a roadtrip than a bunch of cave groupies who go cave to cave.

To see more animals go to

To the Bat Cave–or Maybe Just Outside the Bat Cave’s Entrance

The federal government wants you to stay out of caves to help save bats. They fear white-nose syndrome, which has kill up to a million bats in the northeast is spreading. States as far away as Georgia are thinking about closing down caves, Mark Davis reports in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Now big caves around the country are debating the proposition of closing to save their big attraction.

A fungus is believed to be behind the mysterious illness that leaves bats starving at the end of hibernation. Scientists know that the sick bats wake up a lot more during hibernation, but are not sure if that’s a cause or effect. Either way, they don’t want anybody barging in on their caves and waking them up. Of course, that won’t be much of an issue over the summer.

There are a ton of great places to see bats around the country. People have finally caught on to the allure of seeing thousands of bats stream out of a dark hole at dusk. And we’ve finally realized that they aren’t going to deliberately fly into our hair or suck our blood. It would be a shame to lose all of our goodwill toward bats.

The Wildlife Service seems to be talking about cavers, that is people who actually go in the caves, not hang out outside waiting for the fly-out. They say caves visited by cavers have seen more of the disease and fear it might be spread on equipment. So

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