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After a week of frigid weather, Austin bats are dying fast
Mexican free-tail bats in the Austin skyline

The long-term damage caused by Winter Storm Uri is becoming more and more evident, and Austin's bat population is no exception.


The bats, which serve as both a tourist attraction and token of pride for many Austinites, have been found dead or dying en masse under bridges and overpasses throughout the city.

Austin Animal Center officials said they have heard reports of 60-100 dead bats since the storm kept temperatures subfreezing for days.

To help combat the issue, conservation groups including Austin Bat Refuge are rehabilitating the animals using insulin syringes and feeding supplies to keep bats alive.

Officials are quickly realizing that mass bat deaths are happening statewide. On Wednesday, Texas Parks and Wildlife posted pictures of what looked to be hundreds of dead bats on Facebook. The department asked for the public's help in reporting bat deaths by checking under bridges, reporting how many bats can be found and putting data into the iNaturalist project. Over 2,000 wildlife deaths have been reported as a result of Winter Storm Uri in the project.

The mass deaths are distressing to wildlife experts because bats are vital to Texas agriculture, acting as a "natural pest control" by controlling insect populations. As a result, if bats were to go extinct in the area, food prices would rise.

Austin, with its 1.5 million Congress Avenue Bridge bats, has even more ties to the animals. While the bats offer a uniquely Austin experience that attracts tourists and locals alike, they also eat up to 30,000 bugs a night, giving the city a more insect-free experience as well. The mosquito-repelling animals that reside in the city are also North America's largest urban bat population.

Austin Animal Center warned residents not to touch bats when making reports. If a dead or dying bat is found, the department said to call Austin 311 so the animals can get the care they need. Austin Bat Rescue is also asking for donations of 1 ml insulin syringes to help save more bats.

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1923 Lake Austin mansion demolition request pitting preservationists and some neighbors against owner and city preservation office
Austin Monitor

By Jonathan Lee

The Planning Commission was split Tuesday on whether to help save an eclectic lakefront estate from demolition by zoning it historic amid concerns over tax breaks and the likelihood that a previous owner participated in segregation as a business owner.

The property in question, known as the Delisle House, is located at 2002 Scenic Drive in Tarrytown. The main house, with Spanish and Modern influences, was built in 1923 by Raymond Delisle, an optician. A Gothic Revival accessory apartment was built in 1946. The current owner applied to demolish the structures in order to build a new home.'

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Freaky Floats and other Austin food & drink news
Austin Motel

What's new in Austin food & drink this week:

  • Nau's Enfield Drug closing after losing their lease. Did McGuire Moorman Lambert buy the building, with its vintage soda fountain?
  • Nixta Taqueria Chef Edgar Rico named to Time Magazine's Time 100 Next influencer list, after winning a James Beard Award earlier this year.
  • Question: From what BBQ joint did pescatarian Harry Styles order food this week?
  • Austin Motel is opening the pool and pool bar Wednesday nights in October for Freaky Floats.
  • Vincent's on the Lake closing due to "economic conditions and low water levels [at Lake Travis]."
  • Cenote has closed its Windsor Park location. The East Cesar Chavez location remains open.
  • The Steeping Room on N. Lamar has closed.
  • Local startup It's Skinnyscored new financing for its gluten-free pasta business.
  • P. Terry's opened a new location in Kyle, at 18940 IH-35.