Watch this cool video of a developing pattern on radar, a phenomenon in the skies over Phoenix, Arizona. It wasn’t a weather pattern that officials with the National Weather Service captured on their screens, though. It was a flock of bats. (Are they called “flocks” when it’s bats you’re dealing with? I think flocking is a term specific to birds. Ah! If resting, a grouping of bats is a colony, and if in flight, it’s a “cloud”. Appropriate, then, for the weather people to have recorded this. A huge cloud of bats. Or sometimes a large group in flight is called a “cauldron”. I can dig it.
The bats captured on radar, likely Mexican free-tail bats (the name thereof has nothing to do with the overall promiscuity of the animals, it should be noted), were not of the colony that calls Phoenix’s famous Bat Bridge home. This was a different cauldron. (Now that I know the official term, I’ma start using it whenever I get the chance.) So how can they be sure they were looking at bats? “[It didn’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,” said meteorologist Sean Benedict.