Thursday, June 17, 2010

Carlsbad Caverns NP - Bat Flight Program

As the sun is ready to set, the bats get ready to party. Each evening during the summer, thousands (and at times as many as million) Mexican free-tail bats exit Carlsbad Cavern in search of a smorgasbord of insects for dinner. The visitors to the park can witness this spectacular cave exit during the Bat Flight Program .

Together with around one thousand of other (human) visitors to the park, we waited patiently for around 45 minutes to see the bats emerge from the cavern at the Natural Entrance that we earlier that day used to enter the cave. It was a long wait, but I think it was worth it. As the bats exit the cave they make 7 counterclockwise circles creating upward spiral. Apparently it is always counterclockwise, and always 7 circles... One of those little mysteries of nature.

Unfortunately, we do not have any photos or movies that would document this event as no electronic equipment is allowed during the bat flight program. Nonetheless, if you are ever in the park, make sure to witness it with your own eyes!

On a side note:
As I mentioned before, we were in Carlsbad Caverns on Memorial weekend. Therefore, the park ranger leading the Bat Flight program dedicated that day's bat flight to all veterans and asked if there were any in the audience. I was surprised how many hands were up in the air! I would say that around 5% of people raised their hands then... That's the best demonstration of the US constant involvement in wars!

Other posts about Carlsbad Caverns.