Archive for July, 2014

TPW TV: Purple Martins

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

This is Passport to Texas

Andy and Julia Balinsky are landlords in Austin… and their tenants are a colony of purple martins.

02—They are the largest North American swallow.

Most swallows build their own nests, but purple martins prefer existing structures in which to raise their young; this makes them increasingly reliant on people like the Balinskys. Yet, this bird/human dependence is not new.

08— Native Americans put up gourds [for the birds] long, long ago. And this bird associates safety with humans.

The colony of purple martins is in good hands with Andy and Julia, who perform regular maintenance on the nest boxes for the birds’ health and safety.

05— We have to clean them out. We have to purchase new structures from time-to-time and [do] some maintenance.

The couple’s job also involves evicting unwanted tenants like house sparrows, which often hijack martin nests.

08— They’re pretty nasty. They’ll go in and peck the purple martin eggs; they’ll be mean to the babies. It’s bad news, so, we discourage them from being here.

Get to know the Balinsky’s and the birds in a segment airing this week 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.

Hunting/Regulations: HIP Certification

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Duck hunting in Texas

Duck hunting in Texas

This is Passport to Texas

If you plan on hunting migratory game birds in Texas this fall, you need to be HIP – HIP certified, that is. HIP stands for Harvest Information Program.

15—It’s purpose is to gain information on waterfowl and migratory bird hunters nationwide. Basically a name and address and a little bit about their previous year’s hunting activity—as well as what they plan on hunting what they plan on hunting in the upcoming year.

Kevin Kraai is Waterfowl Program Leader. He says the HIP program helps wildlife professionals improve resource management practices as well as track various waterfowl populations throughout the country.

05—It’s a very useful tool in setting the future year hunting regulations and management decisions.

Being a HIP certified waterfowl hunter isn’t just a good idea—it’s the law.

11—Officially it is a requirement by law that every individual that plans on hunting migratory birds in the state of Texas us HIP certified. If you are not HIP certified and you are hunting migratory game birds, you are subject to game violations.

Become HIP certified; find information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and sport fish restoration program supports our series and is funded by your purchase of fishing and hunting equipment and motorboat fuel…

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

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.