Mexican Free-Tailed Bats Arrive in Midland for Spring Migration

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By Becky FogelMarch 15, 2017 11:02 am

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Mexican free-tailed bats have started their northern migration and are already showing up in Midland. Michael Nickell, resident scientist and naturalist for the Sibley Nature Center says male Mexican free-tailed bats are the first to arrive in Midland during the migration period in early to mid-March.

But the jig is up come late March and early April when impregnated female bats arrive on the scene.

“And they come in such numbers and then set up their rookery colonies to give birth and they just sort of displace the males,” he says. 

The Mexican free-tailed bats are traveling from Mexico, Central America, and even South America. Nickell says the critters are holed up in a Midland underpass for now. He went to check it out Tuesday night. 

“I was standing there at the corner at an underpass probably looking like a strange fella, kind of what’s he doing standing on the bridge here with a camera? I was just standing there waiting,” he says. “I got there maybe about 7:15 and then at 7:45, a little before 8:00, that’s when the bats started dropping.”

Nickell says these Mexican free-tailed bats will be hanging out in Midland through the summer before migrating back down South in the fall.

Texas lawmakers debated a bill Tuesday that would stop local governments from putting restrictions on disposable plastic grocery bags. If passed, it would override at least 10 local ordinances that ban or restrict plastic bag use.

State Sen. Bob Hall, a Republican from East Texas, is the author of Senate Bill 103. 

“The government should never, never perilously remove a citizen’s freedom or impose practices on a business that can be unduly burdensome, unsafe or counter-productive to a clean environment,” he said. 

Senator Hall argued that paper and reusable bags are a bigger burden on the environment. Most of the people who testified at the hearing – including ranchers and environmentalists – disputed Hall’s claim.

Oil production is expected to grow again in the U.S, next month. Houston Public Media’s Eddie Robinson has more:

The Energy Information Administration says nationwide oil production could grow by 109,000 barrels a day next month – with Texas leading the way.

Rice University Energy Management Professor Bill Arnold says companies have gotten better at making money with lower oil prices. But there could be a downside soon.

‘The challenge in this is that production is going up – which puts pressure on markets – and may cause OPEC over the next several months to have some second thoughts about their commitment to reducing their own production,” Arnold says. 

Last week in Houston – OPEC leaders signaled they’ll approach to decide whether to extend their cuts or not but it’s a less appealing prospect if American companies continue pumping more.