Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Bat Flight Breakfast

July 13, 2009, 10:47 am

Visit Carlsbad Cavern National Park and behold the sight of hundreds of thousands of bats soaring through the sky in search of their insect prey. Located in the Guadalupe Mountain, Carlsbad Caverns is home to 17 different bat species. The most famed among them is the Brazilian free-tail bat weighing in at ½ ounce, with a wingspan of 11 inches. The sheer enormity of this colony never ceases to amaze visitors. In fact, as many as 793,000 bats inhabited the caverns in 2005. The Brazilian free-tail bats migrate to Mexico in late October through early November returning to Carlsbad Caverns in April or May. The best time to view these bats is between July and August when they are joined by their pups (yes, baby bats are called pups, not batlets) that were born in the early summer as well as other colonies from the north.           

            Every summer, from Memorial Day weekend until mid-October, Carlsbad Caverns hosts free bat flight programs where park visitors can see the bats’ counter clockwise spiral departure from the caverns. Park rangers lead informative, interpretive programs prior to the bat flight. The bat flight can last up to three hours. Cameras and video recorders are not permitted because the white flashes disturb the bats. Don’t miss the chance to see this wonder of nature  as hundreds of thousands of bats flying at more than 25mph in a seemingly never-ending ribbon through the night sky!

             If you’re interested in learning what the bats’ behavior is like when they return to roost, consider attending the 52nd Annual Bat Flight Breakfast  on Saturday, July 18 from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. Against the rising of the sun you will see the thousands of bats return from their night of feeding, an experience vastly different than their departure the night before. There will be park rangers giving programs about the return flight. For more information about the breakfast contact the park at (575) 785-2232.