Archive for the 'Birding' Category

Birding: Hummingbird Roundup

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Hummingbird watching.

Hummingbird watching.

This is Passport to Texas

While the mockingbird might be the official state bird of Texas, every July it’s the hummingbird that earns a place of distinction in the state.

08—July is usually the start of our hummingbird migration when we’ve got thousands of ruby throated hummingbirds heading this way from the northern regions.

Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Mark Klym coordinates the annual survey, the Hummingbird Roundup, in Texas.

07—The round-up really provides us with information about the hummingbird population here in Texas and gives us an idea of where they’re being found.

We’ve documented 18 species in Texas. While the bird count takes place year-round, the birds are more prevalent in the state from July to October.

19—This would be a good time to start looking at possibly increasing your number of feeders if you have a yard that is going to be actively used by hummingbirds…the best way to get hummingbirds in your yard is to prepare a good hummingbird garden. Lots of plants that will feed the birds, salvias, Turks cap, trumpet vine.

Take part in the Hummingbird Round-up and receive your own survey kit…find out how… when you log onto the Texas parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show for today. For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti

Wildlife: Hummingbirds Return to Texas

Monday, July 28th, 2014

Female hummingbird at flame acanthus.

Female hummingbird at flame acanthus.

This is Passport to Texas

[SFX – hummer]

Summer is a great time for hummingbird viewing in Texas.

03—Obviously the places people see them most often is around feeders.

Mark Klym is in Wildlife Diversity and a hummingbird enthusiast. Attract hummingbirds to your yard with a hummingbird feeder filled with a solution of one part sugar to four parts water. Once you’ve installed a feeder,
Klym says to keep the contents fresh.

08—During the summer months you want to change that every two to four days. During the winter months, you might get away with four to six days, but certainly no longer than that.

If you’d prefer to see hummers in the wild, you’re in luck: we have eighteen species of the bird in Texas. But you have to know where to look.

18—If you’re looking on the wild, you’re going to want to look in areas where there are a number of flowering plants available. The do require shelter, so they’re going to be around evergreen or well-leaved trees – depending on the season. And they’re also going to be found where there’s water. Water is a critical element of their environment, and they’re going to be found where there’s water.

Find information about hummingbirds, and hummingbird festivals on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show for today… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

August 21-23, 2014: Davis Mountains Hummingbird Festival – The “Hummingbird Capitol of Texas” will host 3 days of lectures, viewings, field trips and discussion on the hummingbirds found throughout the Davis Mountains. Various locations will be available for viewings.

September 18-21, 2014: HummerBird Festival Rockport and Fulton, Texas — One of the largest and most popular hummingbird festivals.

Birding: Gateway to Nature Appreciation

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Birding at Hornsby Bend, Austin, Texas

Birding at Hornsby Bend, Austin, Texas

This is Passport to Texas

Legendary Birder, Victor Emanuel, views birding as a gateway to nature appreciation.

10—Well, it’s the best way for people to get connected to nature, because birds are the most obvious part of nature visible to us. A lot of the mammals are active at night. But birds are here; they’re all around us.

Emanuel says it’s the fact that they are so visible that makes them interesting.

15—Birds are some of the most visible creatures around us. You have the song of birds, you have the motion of birds, the fact they can fly. A cardinal, a blue jay, a duck on a pond… they’re large enough and so they attract our attention in a way that smaller creatures don’t.

Victor Emanuel has spent a lifetime watching birds around the world. And while all birds are watchable, he says that doesn’t mean he likes them all.

17—I actually have a prejudice against introduced birds that are a problem, like starlings. They’re a beautiful bird, actually, with the colors on them in the sunlight. But they take over the nest of native birds, and throw out the young and eggs, so they don’t get to raise their young and eggs. But, yeah, they’re all watchable.

Find birding information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

That’s our show for today…we record our series at The Block House in Austin…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW TV: Flocking with Friends

Monday, May 5th, 2014

This is Passport to Texas

We’re deep in the heart of the 18th Annual Great Texas Birding Classic, which began April 15 and continues through May 15. It’s the world’s biggest and longest bird watching tournament.

Martha McLeod’s fifth grade science class – called the Awesome Ospreys – participated in last year’s event. They set their sights on seeing 100 species during the sunrise to noon tournament.

30— I’m hoping these kids can get to 100. They’re the last team to compete [Where’d he go?]; being at the tail end of migration, it’s going to be tough [It just flew over there.] Right now, they’re neck-and-neck with my fourth grade team. [Yeah, the eastern kingbird up there. There’s an Oriole! Oh, I see a spoonbill, guys. Whoa, what is that? A white ibis. The red-winged blackbird.] We’re not just doing textbook knowledge; we’re doing real world learning. And, if you put excitement in it, and you show the relevance to their own life — you’ve got them hook, line and sinker.

Find out if Martha McLeod’s Awesome Ospreys reached their goal of 100 birds, this week in a segment on the TPW 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.

Birding: Share Sightings on eBird

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Bird watching

Bird watching

This is Passport to Texas

If bird watching is your passion, consider sharing your sightings with the world on eBird

03— That the Cornell lab of Ornithology sponsors.

Cliff Shackelford is Parks and Wildlife’s non-game ornithologist. With spring migration underway, who knows what you’ll see in the next few weeks.

26— And you can easily – on your smart phone or your computer – enter your sightings. You can even start with eBird by setting up your yard as a hotspot or a patch that you frequent. And it’s already in the system, and then all you have to do is you go and say, ‘Okay; it’s April 27th, and we had a black-throated green warbler, and two Tennessee warblers, and a chestnut sided warbler. And other people can see that and get pretty excited.

Of course if the hotspot is, say, your backyard, you may not want strangers walking up to your fence line with binoculars. You can be somewhat vague when inputting the location of your sighting, and still provide meaningful information to your fellow birding enthusiasts.

15— If you’re worried about people finding your secret patch, you can make it more of a broad brushstroke on the map, but still submit the data so people can say, ‘Wow. That was Travis County and they had all those great birds.’ So eBird is a real good tool.

Find a bunch of birding information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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