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Thousands of bats captured on radar as they fly into the night looking for insects in Arizona 

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Dinner time! Thousands of bats are captured on weather radar as they fly into the night looking for insects in Arizona

  • The National Weather Service captured a massive colony of bats on radar
  • Thousands of creatures were captured before dusk in Arizona Sunday
  • The radar shows what looks like fireworks bursting over the area
  • Officials believe it was a colony of Mexican free-tailed bats looking for insects 

By Stacy Liberatore For Dailymail.com

Published: | Updated:

Thousands of bats woke from their slumber and flew out of a tunnel in Arizona to feast before dusk – and the National Weather Service captured the event on radar.

The organization picked up the massive colony in Phoenix Sunday, which highlighted what appears to be a burst like fireworks coming from a single point.

Officials believe it was a colony of Mexican free-tailed bats that dispersed in search of insects around the city.

There are 28 bat species living in Arizona, but the Mexican free-tailed does the most pest control around the state – some roosts contains millions that consume 250 tons of insects in a night.

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Thousands of bats woke from their slumber and flew out of a tunnel in Arizona to feast before dusk – and the National Weather Service captured the event on radar. The organization picked up the massive colony in Phoenix Sunday, which highlighted what appears to be a burst like fireworks coming from a single point

The National Weather Service (NWS) picked up the colony Sunday evening just before dusk.

Officials were initially perplexed by the bursting motion on the radar, but determined it was a result of flapping animals in the sky.

NWS meteorologist Sean Benedict, told AZFamily: ‘That doesn’t look like a normal shower, the way everything is sort of fanning out.’

‘They don’t really have a uniform direction. That’s usually your clue initially that it’s probably animals flying around.’

Officials believe it was a colony of Mexican free-tailed bats that dispersed in search of insects around the city

This time of year, the beginning of the fall season, is when Arizona typically has the most bat sightings, as these animals are making their way to Mexico where they will ride out the winter.

However, during the summer, Mexican free-tailed bats flood Phoenix with colonies reaching their peak size around July and August.

Experts are not sure where the recent colony came from Sunday night, but due to the urban landscape they believe they were roosting under a bridge during daylight hours.

The National Weather Service (NWS) picked up the colony Sunday evening just before dusk. Officials were initially perplexed by the bursting motion on the radar, but determined it was a result of flapping animals

The NWS has captured other flapping animals with its weather radar.

Back in February a flock of birds took off around midnight near Key West and meteorologists estimate the radius of the flock is at least 90 miles out from the center.

Experts believe this group began its journey in Cuba, passed over the keys and found a spot in Florida to land just before sunrise.

The sighting, which is called ‘roost rings’ is particularly common around this time, as birds take off from their roosting sites around dawn in order to forage for food.

The NWS has captured other flapping animals with its weather radar. Back in February a flock of birds took off around midnight near Key West and meteorologists estimate the radius of the flock is at least 90 miles out from the center 

The video of the flock was shared by the National Weather Service Key West, which wrote: ‘Key West radar had a busy night, but not because of weather! The most impressive display of migratory birds so far this year occurred overnight.’

‘This product distinguishes between biological targets (birds) shown in green/yellow and meteorological targets (showers and rain) depicted in darker blues.’

Weather Service meteorologist Kate Lenninger of the Key West office, told the Tampa Bay Times: ‘There was kind of a stable layer of air above us that was deflecting the radar beam closer to the surface.’

‘So, we were able to pick up more low level objects.”

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