Archive for the 'Wildlife' Category

Baby Bird Rehab

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
Rescuing baby bird from fallen nest.

Rescuing baby bird from fallen nest.

This is Passport to Texas

Spring is in the air and so are some baby birds as they prematurely exit their nests. If you find one grounded in your yard, resist rescue. The parents may be nearby.

Mom and dad know how to raise baby birds a lot better than we do.

If the bird is a featherless nestling, return it to the nest, says ornithologist Cliff Shackelford. If it is a feathered, yet flightless fledgling, it may be under mom and dad’s supervision. But if parents are absent, call a rehabilitator.

You would work with that person on trying to get the bird to them. Keep in mind the rehabilitator’s busy 24/7 tending to the wildlife they have – so don’t expect them to come all the way to you. So you should probably make the point of, ‘Okay. I’m committed to this; I’m going to see it through. So, I’m going to drive the bird even though it’s an hour away to the rehabilitator.

Rehabilitators are not evenly distributed, and the nearest one might be a two hour drive away, and Cliff says rescuers need to be prepared for that.

And we have on the Parks and Wildlife website, a list of the licensed rehabilitators in the state. That is something that has to be permitted. You have to have state and federal permits to be a rehabilitator. You don’t just take it down the road to grandma and hope that she can do it, because the reason they’re permitted is they have to go through training, and they have to have the right facilities to be successful.

Find that list of wildlife rehabilitators listed by county on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website. The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Oops! Baby Bird Out of the Nest

Monday, March 13th, 2017
Fledgling Blue Jay, Photo by and (c)2009 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man)

Fledgling Blue Jay, Photo by and (c)2009 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man)

This is Passport to Texas

As spring approaches it’s good to know what to do if you find a baby bird out of its nest. And the babies most likely to try and get a jump on spring are blue jays.

I don’t know what happens. They just jump the nest a couple days early, and the problem is they’re in the backyard where the dogs and cats and kids are. So you really have to focus on not trying to pick up the bird.

Cliff Shackelford, Parks and Wildlife’s non-game ornithologist, says the baby is not abandoned; mom and dad are nearby.

The better thing to do would be to pull the cats, dogs and kids in for that day or two and let the baby blue jay make it on its own with mom and dad. Because the fate is not the same if you pick it up and try to rehabilitate it. Mom and dad know how to raise baby birds a lot better than we do.

Even so, it‘s good to be prepared if you do find a baby bird that is vulnerable and unattended.

On your refrigerator, where you have the numbers of 9-1-1 and poison control, you should have [the number for] your local rehabilitator on your refrigerator ahead of time. Once you do get that baby bird — you don’t have a lot of time.

Find a list of wildlife rehabilitators by county on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website. 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.

TPW TV – Guzzlers for Wildlife

Friday, March 3rd, 2017
Guzzler on the Black Gasp Wildlife Management Area

Guzzler on the Black Gasp Wildlife Management Area

This is Passport to Texas

A guzzler is a rain catchment device. Collected rainwater gets funneled into a tank that feeds a water trough for wildlife.

As we all know, animals need water. Our annual rainfall is only around 11 inches a year. So we’re trying to supplement that water during dry periods.

Travis Smith is a biologist at the Black Gap Wildlife management area in Brewster County. So is Will Rhodes.

We’re in southern Brewster County which is in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas.

They build and maintain guzzlers on the Gap—45 so far—and see to the needs of wildlife on the management area.

We’re in the Chihuahuan Desert Ecosystem. The area is 103,000 acres or a little over. Black Gap is kind of in the middle of nowhere.

Next week the men explain and demonstrate guzzlers on a segment of the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS.

So this catchment consist of R-Panel in 12 foot lengths, which is connected to these 6 inch C-Purlins by…

Let’s stop there. Will’s going to tell us about purlins and pitch threads and storage tanks; it’s not sexy stuff. But it’s necessary when building guzzlers at Black Gap. And, so are wildlife cameras.

On these game cameras it’s triggered by motion. Usually that’s going to be wildlife coming in to get water from the guzzlers here.

Which means their efforts are successful. See the segment on Guzzlers next week on the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV Series on PBS. The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Assisted Living: Attwater’s Prairie Chickens

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017
Baby Attwater's Prairie Chickens At Fossil Rim

Baby Attwater’s Prairie Chickens At Fossil Rim

This is Passport to Texas

We all need help sometimes. And in the case of the endangered Attwater’s Prairie Chicken, they’re getting it in the form of captive breeding programs, including one at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose.

Adding birds from the captive breeding program has allowed us to keep birds in the wild. Without the captive breeding program this species, undoubtedly, would have been extinct by now.

Biologists estimate there are fewer than 100 Attwater’s Prairie Chickens in existence today. Mike Morrow is a wildlife biologist at the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge in Eagle Lake. The juvenile prairie chickens at Fossil rim are color banded and radio collared in preparation for release onto the refuge.

How many other species can we watch go extinct, before it starts making a difference the ability of the world to support us as a human species.

Juvenile birds take a long ride to the refuge and are kept in an outdoor enclosure until they’ve acclimated to their new habitat. After two weeks in their pen, they’re released onto the refuge.

Biologist Morrow says he knows not all the birds they release will survive, but those that do, represent the future. He says Texas Parks and Wildlife and partners will continue to build the population with wild birds. And that’s where he says we place the hope for the recovery of the species.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Most Endangered Bird in North America

Monday, February 20th, 2017
Attwater's Prairie Chicken

Attwater’s Prairie Chicken

This is Passport to Texas

The most endangered bird in North America is a chicken. No, it’s not your ordinary farmyard fowl. It’s the extraordinary Attwater’s Prairie Chicken—a species unique to Texas coastal prairies. Yet, over the past two decades fewer than 100 individuals have been reported in the wild.

For a species that only lives on average two years—that’s a very bad place to be.

Mike Morrow is a wildlife biologist at the Attwater’s Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge in Eagle Lake. He works with biologist Rebecca Chisholm.

You know, they’re [prairie chickens] an endangered species all over the rest of the country and the world. But this one here, lives only in Texas.

The birds are part of our natural heritage. At the refuge, Morrow and Chisholm work together to give the Prairie Chicken a chance at survival, which includes building predator deterrent fences around nest sites.

The idea of this predator deterrent fence Is to deflect predators away from the nest area so that hopefully they won’t find the nest and destroy it.

The fence doubles the chance of survival for the hens and chicks. And when there are fewer than 100 members in a population, you take those odds.

Working with—arguably the most endangered bird in North America—has its ups and downs. I mean, sometimes, it’s a little bit disappointing. Things don’t go quite as well as you want, but it’s also rewarding when things do. So I think everyone would agree that it’s worth it.

Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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