Wildlife: White Nose Syndrome Update

August 27th, 2014

Checking caves for White Nose Syndrome

Checking caves for White Nose Syndrome, Photo © Mylea Bayless, Bat Conservation International, www.batcon.org



This is Passport to Texas

North America’s bats are dying off at an alarming rate.

06—The current estimate is more than 5.7 million bats have been killed by white nose syndrome.
Texas Parks and Wildlife mammalogist, Jonah Evans, says it’s been spreading south and west.

12— The closest [to Texas] it’s been confirmed is in Mississippi. And it does continue to be found further and further west – closer to Texas. So, we’re very concerned that it could get here.

Researchers thought they’d discovered the fungus in an Oklahoma bat colony in 2010; additional testing proved the sample similar, yet unrelated and non-lethal.

05—That is a huge relief, because that was next door, and we were just terrified that it was coming.

White Nose Syndrome, which forms a fungal mat over the faces of hibernating bats, thrives in cooler climates. This makes Texas officials hopeful state bat colonies will remain unaffected; nevertheless, they will remain vigilant.

11—The place that we’ve identified as most likely to be susceptible to white nose syndrome is up in the Panhandle, where there’s a fair
number of hibernating bats, and it gets cold.

How the white nose fungus moves from one area to another, and what we can do to slow its progress. That’s tomorrow.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series… and receives funds from your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel.

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

TPW Magazine: 12 Birds Every Texan Should Know

August 26th, 2014

House Sparrow male sitting on snow-covered hedge, Texas

House Sparrow male sitting on snow-covered hedge, Texas



This is Passport to Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife non-game ornithologist, Cliff Shackelford, compiled a list of 12 bird species he thinks every Texan should know.

10— No two experts or seasoned veterans in this field are going to come up with the same 12 birds. I’m sure people are going to go: Why
didn’t he pick this? Why didn’t he pick that?” Well, it’s just personal preference.

In addition to personal preference, birds made the list based on questions he receives from the public about unfamiliar species they see.

22—Yeah. And then, the other thing I did is I thought about species that have statewide ranges that you could be in just about any corner of the state and see. Of course, some of these are wetland occurring, and if you’re out in the very dry parts of West Texas, you might not see them; but eventually you’re going to cross a creek or pond or something and potentially see a Killdeer or a Great Blue Heron.

Killdeer and Great Blue Heron are on the list of 12, which is in the August / September issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine. The Northern Mockingbird, Red-tailed Hawk, Barn Swallow, Turkey Vulture, Cattle Egret and others also made the list — including the house sparrow, which is a non-native species.

10—And it’s not even a true sparrow –it’s a weaver finch—and it’s in a totally different part of your bird book; that’s why I put that one in there. It’s just so atypical for a sparrow.

Find the article Twelve Birds Every Texan Should Know by Cliff Shackelford in the August/September issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

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

Birding: Know Your Birds

August 25th, 2014

Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos

Northern Mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos



This is Passport to Texas

Some bird species in Texas are ubiquitous – but that doesn’t mean we notice them.

17—Ubiquitous simply means they’re all over the place. We might tune them out as just like background noise; we don’t really look at them. But once you start tuning in and really looking at them you’re like, what is that? I’ve never seen that. But, you know, it was always there. You just didn’t look.

Non-game ornithologist, Cliff Shackelford, compiled a list of 12 such species he says every Texan should know.

19—This arose from questions over the years that I’ve received about, “Hey, what’s that dark duck we see when we drive over the ridge?” Or, “What’s this weird striped bird at our bird feeder?” And when you get that kind of call over and over and over, you realize there are some really common birds that people don’t know what they are. So, that’s kind of how I generated that list of twelve.

Find the list in the August/September issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine. And while Cliff says there’s no order to the list, a special species takes the number one spot.

05—I had to start the list with our state bird of Texas, which is the mockingbird.

Find the article Twelve Birds Every Texan Should Know by Cliff Shackelford in the August/September issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

Tomorrow, some of our other feathered friends that made the list…and why.

Funding for our series provided in part by Ram Trucks: Guts. Glory. Ram

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

TPW TV: Leave No Trace

August 22nd, 2014


This is Passport to Texas

Some life lessons are classic, such as: pick up after yourself or be considerate of others. These behaviors are appropriate outdoors, too, and won’t limit your fun, as former Texas Outdoor Family guide, Lindsay Davis explains:

50— It is possible to both preserve and enjoy the great outdoors. We call this Leave No Trace. Research the area you’re visiting; check for burn bans and other restrictions. Once you’re out in the park, stick to the trails. Going off trail tramples vegetation and disturbs wildlife. If you pack it in, pack it out. Properly dispose of your trash in a dumpster or trash receptacle. Want some natural souvenirs? Take pictures. It’s a violation of state law to remove resources from the park – things like rocks, plants and other natural objects. Respect wild animals in their natural habitats, and from a safe distance. Never feed wildlife. And finally, be considerate of other visitors. Avoid walking through others’ campsites, keep the volume down, and respect the park’s quiet hours so folks can enjoy the sounds of nature.

View a segment with Lindsay Davis on Leave No Trace the week of August 24 on the Texas Parks and Wildlife PBS TV series. Check your local listings.

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

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

Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame Nominations

August 21st, 2014

Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame inductee, Buddy Bradley, photo © Buddy Bradley

Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame inductee, Buddy Bradley, photo © Buddy Bradley



This is Passport to Texas

Induction into the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame doesn’t involve reeling in big fish.

07—Correct. It is a way to honor people who have given back to the sport of freshwater fishing.

Center spokesperson, Larry Hodge, says achievement in conservation, charity work and innovation makes judges take notice of worthy nominees.

15— Those folks don’t always get a lot of recognition. So, it was felt that establishing a freshwater fishing hall of fame would be a way to recognize deserving individuals who have made a contribution to freshwater fishing in Texas.

Any Texas-based individual or organization is eligible for nomination. Find criteria and forms on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Website. Hodge adds the more detailed nominators are, the better their candidate’s chances.

19—The committee of 12 that goes through the nominations and actually selects the person or organization for induction, may not
know anything about that particular nominee. So, we encourage people to do some research, provide as much information as they can,
and tell us that person’s story.

Submit nominations through November 1, 2014. There’s additional information about the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, and what the inductee receives, on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series… and receives funds from your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motor boat fuel.

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