Texas Outdoor Story: Craig Hensley

Passport to Texas Outdoor Stories from Texas Parks and Wildlife

Craig Hensley is park specialist at Guadalupe River SP. For years, he’s kept track of birds for research and education purposes by banding them. He shares what his work means to him.

I’ve just started banding here but where I banded back in Nebraska for years, you got to a point where you would see certain birds year after year. And there were some woodpeckers, for example, I think I saw for six or seven years. So when you catch a bird that’s been banded, you look it up and go, “Wow! Who is this?” It’s just, for me a wonderful love of birds that I have.

We were fortunate enough, a couple of months ago, that we had a lady here, the eagle lady. She visits lots of state parks with some birds of prey, and she happened to be in our park on a weekend we were bird banding. And only the second time in all the years I’ve been involved in bird banding we caught a hawk. A sharp-shinned hawk that had chased a bird into the net and that was a treat! I don’t band hawks, I’m not permitted to do that, but we were able to take the bird out of the net, get our pictures made with it and marvel at just a spectacular bird. Best part of the whole thing was it took three of its talons and dug ‘em into my fingers when I was trying to get him out. So when that bird flew off, he actually flew off with a little piece of my skin I think still attached to a talon, which I actually loved, it was like “I’m flying free!” So, it’s kind of odd, but that was a special treat.

One man’s odd is another man’s special treat. Thanks, Craig.

That’s our show…with research and writing help from Sarah Loden… For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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