Clean Windows May be Dangerous to Birds

December 14th, 2017
A deceased yellow-bellied sapsucker that flew into a clean window.

A deceased yellow-bellied sapsucker that flew into a clean window.

This is Passport to Texas

When ornithologist, Cliff Shackelford, visited the studio recently, he brought with him a small, lifeless bird.

And it turns out to be a yellow-bellied sapsucker.

The little woodpecker had flown into a window at Texas Parks and Wildlife headquarters. Cliff determined its sex and age by the smattering of red feathers on its head and white ones on its throat.

This is a female, yellow-bellied sapsucker, first year bird. I have a permit that allows me to salvage these and take them to a museum where it can be put up as a museum specimen for scientific use.

You’ve probably seen dead birds in your neighborhood.

Bird deaths are rampant in urban areas [from] windows and/or housecats. You can’t take the killer out of a cat. And then windows: go outside—try to take the perspective of a bird. Look at the window. You’ll see blue skies and white clouds, and the trees. It’s all a reflection of what’s behind you.

Birds, especially the young and inexperienced, fly into the reflection because it looks like clear passage.

The really sad part is, this bird doesn’t breed in Texas or anywhere close to Texas. This is a winter bird. And actually, I haven’t seen one yet this fall. It’s sad that the first one [I see] is a dead one in my hand.

As a museum specimen, researchers will study the little bird to better understand her species.

Her death is not in vain, but tens of thousands of birds across the planet die every day by hitting windows.

As good a reason as any not to wash your windows. The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW Magazine – Hueco Rock Rodeo

December 13th, 2017
Bouldering at Hueco Tanks State Park. Image: Brandon Jacobeit.

Bouldering at Hueco Tanks State Park. Image: Brandon Jakobeit.

This is Passport to Texas

The January 2018 issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine, features a story about the Hueco Rock Rodeo by Russell Roe.

The Hueco Tanks Rock Rodeo is a bouldering competition they hold every year at Hueco Tanks State Park outside El Paso. And it is the top bouldering competition in the nation, if not the world.

During four days in February, competitors cling to and climb boulders and small cliffs using nothing but their hands and feet.

Bouldering may lack the drama of scaling a high peak. The climbers are drawn to it because of the purity of the climbing and the powerful, graceful moves required, and the mental challenge of finding the best way to the top.

Climbers spot… and cheer on one another. Some climbs find competitors seemingly defying gravity.

At Hueco Tanks, they’re really kind of finding the steepest thing they can climb. Which is often the roof of a cave. They’re moving horizontally across the ground—holding on by their feet and their hands. And, it goers seem like it defies gravity.

Look for Russell Roe’s Hueco Rock Rodeo story in the January issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine.

The history of Hueco Tanks, concerning bouldering, is so rich. And this competition celebrates bouldering and celebrates Hueco Tanks’ history, and the development of that sport.

That’s our show… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW Magazine – Featuring Epic Texas Challenges

December 12th, 2017
Texas Water Safari. image: TPW TV Series

Texas Water Safari. Image: TPW TV Series

This is Passport to Texas

Expect months of action-packed stories in Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

We have chosen as our theme for 2018: the year of epic Texas challenges.

Editor, Louie Bond. And just what are epic Texas challenges?

The biggest. The best. The most. The fastest. Whatever hyperbole you can come up with… You know, Texans love to brag [good natured] and challenge each other. So. We’re going to play on that Texas spirit all year long.

Louie said the challenges align with the Texas Parks and Wildlife mission.

We thought about all of the things that we love to write about in the magazine, and we started looking at all the events that happen in Texas. We figured there was no way to make it all match up month-for-month with our publication. But you know the magic that happens. We found all the different categories and were able to place one in each month of the magazine. So, it just worked out perfectly.

In 2018, readers will paddle to the coast during the Texas Water Safari, bag big deer at the Muy Grande deer contest, push personal limits during the Howl at the Moon Relay, and hang on for dear life at the Hueco Tanks Rock Rodeo and more.

One thing readers might like to know is that if one particular month doesn’t please them—each month is totally different. So, I hope that they hang on for an issue that piques their curiosity.

The latest issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine is on newsstands now.

That’s our show… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Still Time to Get State Park Ornaments

December 11th, 2017
Ornaments for the holidays or any days to celebrate Texas State Parks.

Ornaments for the holidays or any days to celebrate Texas State Parks.

This is Passport to Texas

State park users look forward to this time of year because new Texas State park ornaments are available.

For the last several years, we’ve featured three unique parks each year. This year we’re featuring Lake Arrowhead SP, Garner SP and Village Creek SP. Three very different parks from three very different regions.

Thomas Wilhelm, with state parks, says the American made laser engraved wooden ornaments include an iconic image associated with each featured site.

Each year we try to feature a historic site that has a Civilian Conservation Corps component…we [may also] feature either an animal or geography [on an ornament]. This year we’re featuring Lake Arrowhead because of the prairie dog town there. So, the image is a prairie dog. And we try to do an activity as well. So, this year Village Creek, we’re featuring paddling sports that happen there at Village Creek.

The CCC built dance terrace adorns the Garner SP ornament. Purchase ornaments individually or as a group. A limited number of ornaments from past years are also available.

Call our customer service center (512.389.8900) any time during the month of December, and they will walk you through the process, and make sure you get the ones that you’re looking for. It’s usually about a 10 day turnaround from order to receipt.

Find prices and additional information about all Texas State Parks ornaments on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW TV–Lone Star Hiking Trail

December 8th, 2017
The 100-Mile Hike on TPWD TV on PBS

The 100-Mile Hike on TPWD TV on PBS

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife TV producers go the distance to tell compelling stories. In, Jeffrey Buras’ case, that distance was 100 miles for a segment called: The Hundred Mile Hike.

It is a challenge, because not only are you doing a 100-mile hike, but you’re also trying to shoot a video of that hike. For Emily, she got to just enjoy it and experience it, but I was worried about angles and lighting and batteries.

The segment follows 20-year-old Emily Lozano, a former State Park Ambassador as she backpacks the Lone Star Hiking trail in Sam Houston National Forrest.

I’ve always loved the outdoors. So, this spring break I decided to try something a little bit new, and go on a backpacking trip. I’m going to do the Lone Star hiking Trail; it’s extremely long. We’ll see how it goes.

Emily is alone for most of her trek, and Jeffrey did his best to remove himself from her experience. But at the end of the day when recording voice over recaps…

It was funny because while we were doing those little recaps, she would say ‘Oh, and then Jeffrey did this. Oh, I can’t talk about Jeffrey.’ Then she would say “Well, my imaginary friend did this…’. She kept referring to me as her imaginary friend.

Emily’s experience is anything but imaginary. Join her on the trail next week on the Texas Parks and WildlifeTV series on PBS.

It was such a great spring break. Great in ways I wouldn’t have expected it to be. I’m so glad I went.

And you’ll be so glad you watched. Check your local listings.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.