Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife
We have a saying here in Texas that goes: It ain’t braggin’ if it’s true. And when it comes to which state holds the record for the most bird species…well…yes sir…Texas comes out on top.
Texas has 630 species on the list, and it grows by several species every year.
Cliff Shackelford is a non-game ornithologist with Parks and Wildlife.
When I first started paying attention to the state list – probably fifteen, twenty years ago – it was in the five seventies, five eighties…so it’s neat to see it go up like a nice bank account.
You may be wondering why we’re seeing more species. Part of the reason is birdwatchers are getting better; the other part is…well…a little embarrassing for the birds.
Birds are often lost. Usually what happens is there’s a stray from Mexico that’s attracted to the great habitat work that’s done in the Rio Grande Valley. And there’s a lot of birdwatchers there that have studied their Mexican field guides, and so these birds have just come across from parts farther south, and they show up and there’s hopefully an observer that knows what they’re looking at. And that’s how we get a lot of our new birds.
Not all lost birds come from the south. Arctic strays sometimes end up in the Panhandle…and their poor sense of direction is Texas’ gain; because, even if the bird only hangs around for a short time, we still get to count it.
That’s our show for today…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.
Link to World Birding Center