Archive for the 'Wildlife Diversity' Category

Wildlife and the Law of Attraction

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

On which side of the fence do you imagine you will find more wildlife?

This is Passport to Texas

Habitat requirements vary between species, yet some critters make themselves at home anywhere.

Wildlife are really adaptable, and there’s going to be some wildlife that thrive in whatever type of habitat that’s provided.

Kelly Simon (SEE-mah) is an urban wildlife biologist. Even a perfectly manicured monochromatic monoculture known as lawn—will attract some wildlife.

In a typical urban area—where you’ve got really closely mowed Bermuda grass lawn, or St. Augustine lawn, and then just a few really tall mature trees and kind of nothing in the middle? That kind of habitat is really good for grackles, and pigeons, for possum and raccoon, and kind of the species that you see in a disturbed habitat.

Simon says most people don’t mind seeing those species sometimes, but not all the time.

And so what we try to do is to encourage people to create a more balanced habitat. And what I mean by that is to provide native plants that provide natural food sources—fruits, nuts, berries, leaves, etcetera—that provide a balanced source of nutrition for the animals.

This balanced habitat is called a wildscape. Find wildscape information on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife restoration program supports our series.

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

Milkweed for Monarchs

Thursday, August 25th, 2016
Milkweed for monarchs

Milkweed for monarchs

This is Passport to Texas

More than seventy species of milkweed have been recorded nationwide; over half of those are native to Texas. Including two that are endemic.

These are species that are found nowhere else but within the Texas border. One of them is called Texas Milkweed, which is found in canyons in Central Texas. And then we have a species called Coastal Milkweed that occurs roughly from the Houston area to just north of Brownsville.

Jason Singhurst, a botanist with Texas Parks and Wildlife, says milkweeds provide sustenance to the iconic monarch butterfly during its migration.

So, here in Texas, we know certain species like green milkweed, antelope horns, broadleaf milkweed, and zizotes are some of our most abundant species that we’re seeing monarch larvae and adults visit.

Because milkweed species vary, do monarchs use each species in the same or different ways?

That’s a really good question. That’s something we’re trying to figure out in Texas. And that’s why we started this mapping project called Texas Milkweeds and Monarchs project—using iNaturalist. It’s an app that you can download on your smartphone. We’re using that project to help us identify different species of milkweeds across the state, and then also which species that larvae, or adult monarch butterflies are visiting.

Find a link to the Milkweeds and Monarchs project on iNaturalist at

Find an article about milkweeds by Jason Singhurst in the August/September issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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

Wildlife Surveys Support Species Management

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016
South Llano River

South Llano River

This is Passport to Texas

Wildlife biologists use data from field surveys to manage the state’s game and non-game wildlife populations.

One thing that’s important to remember is that we’re never going to count every single animal.

Biologist, Heidi Baily, says the public sometimes confuses “survey” with “census”. The latter implies a tally of all individual animals in a population. Instead, biologists look for trends.

We like to put it in context of the years behind us and look at it in relation to that. And determine what the trend is doing: are we on a steady incline; is the population decreasing; is the sex ratio improving? Things like that.

As the majority of the state is in private hands, landowners are encouraged to conduct wildlife surveys on their property.

We can actually go out there and teach them how to do surveys on their own property. Usually, when we go out, we have a look at their habitat, and we’ll visit with them about the things that they’re concerned about, and what they want to manage for. And then we can actually teach them ways to go ahead and monitor their own populations. They’ll forward the results of those surveys to us for any kind of habitat or population management recommendations.

Learn more about wildlife surveys on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration Program support our series.

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

Wildlife Trail Maps

Thursday, November 5th, 2015
Wildlife Trail Maps

Wildlife Trail Maps

This is Passport to Texas

Texas is a big place with lots to do and to see for the wildlife lover; knowing where to start can be a little overwhelming. No worries. Texas Parks and Wildlife has a solution.

04-We have nine distinct maps; each covers a region of Texas.

They are the Great Texas Wildlife Trails Maps, and encompass more than 960 sites statewide. Liz Tomberlin works in nature tourism at Parks and Wildlife.

20-And [the maps] cover everything from migratory bird watching spots–to burrowing owls–to the prairie chicken leks in the panhandle plains. The monarch migration–we’ve had some great spots to see monarchs. All the way through to bat-watching, and all sorts of other mammals and birds and amphibians that you can see throughout Texas.

The agency updated the Heart of Texas West and East maps recently to ensure users have access to the most current information–information that goes beyond
where to find native critters.

17-Our maps include information for general tourists. There’s information for convention bureaus and visitors’ centers on there; each of our sites includes GPS coordinates; driving directions from major highways; a short description of the site and what you can expect to see there, and a phone number so you can contact someone.

Find more information about The Great Wildlife Trails Maps, including free, interactive versions of the maps on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

Conservation: Wild For Texas License Plates

Friday, April 3rd, 2015
Conservation License Plates

Conservation License Plates

This is Passport to Texas

Texas Parks and Wildlife recently launched two new conservation license plates to support native wildlife projects in Texas. Janis Johnson says one features a Lucifer hummingbird, while the other a diamondback rattlesnake.

09—And these two critters, if you will, join our horned lizard license plate. And together, we’re calling it the “Wild for Texas”
collection. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Janis is a marketing specialist with Parks and Wildlife. Proceeds from the sale of license plates in the Wild for Texas collection support native wildlife projects.

14—Anything from building out habitat and restoration of the Bracken Cave. Taking care of endangered or threatened species. Finding new habitat that’s suitable for our horned lizard. We’ve got some educational programs, [too].

Since its debut in1999, the horned lizard plate’s raised nearly $ 4-million dollars for native wildlife. Combined with sales from other plates, that number increases to $7-million dollars for conservation in Texas. Have a driving passion for conservation?

12—Just go to, and check out all 7 of our conservation license plates. They’re only $30 and you can put one on your vehicle, trailer or motorcycle.

Twenty-two dollars from every sale goes directly toward conservation projects in Texas.

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