Birds on the Move

April 18th, 2018

Some birds, like the golden-cheeked warbler are endangered because of habitat alteration.

This is Passport to Texas

According to a National Audubon Society report on birds and climate change, 314 of the 588 North American bird species studied will lose more than 50 percent of their current climatic range by 2080.

Ornithologist, Cliff Shackelford, says climate change is impacting these species. As the temperatures rise, birds move north. Another reason is habitat alteration.

The interesting thing is that probably four or five decades ago there was another pulse or movement of birds that might not have been related to climate change. And what some people have suggested is a lot of these birds are extending their range because of fire suppression where grasslands were probably a good barrier to a lot of these woodland birds. And now that we don’t have fires to maintain grass, we have trees encroaching. Things like mesquite, huisache and retama are increasing, and a lot of those South Texas birds are moving in response to that.

Some birds, like the golden-cheeked warbler, are already endangered because of habitat alteration. And if something’s not done to restore the habitat, many more birds could find themselves without a suitable home.

They’re specialized they need a very specific habitat and when that is whittled away, they’re not able to adapt to other environments.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Wildlife and the Law of Attraction

April 17th, 2018

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

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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.

Every Day is Earth Day

April 16th, 2018

Happy Earth Day

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On April 22, 1970—48 years ago—tens of millions of people worldwide demonstrated for a healthy, sustainable environment. Thus began the annual observance called Earth Day.

The demonstration evolved into a celebration—but the message is the same: let’s keep the planet healthy.

Celebrating our environment once a year is meaningless if that’s where it ends. So, let’s challenge ourselves to do something every day to care for our planet.

What can we do? Reduce, reuse and recycle comes to mind. So does upcycle—which is like reuse 2.0. It’s when you repurpose a product and create new value. Such as when we turn old truck tires into beautiful containers for ornamental gardens.

If you do plant a garden, use native species. They require less water and provide food and shelter for pollinators and other wildlife.

Leave the outdoors better than you found it. Pick up and discard trash you see. When fishing, be sure to properly dispose of monofilament fishing line. And choose to spend time outdoors with your family. Get in the middle of nature instead of just watching nature programs on television.

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.

Epic Texas Challenge: Angler vs. Fish

April 13th, 2018
Bass fishing partners.

Bass fishing partners.

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Throughout 2018, Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine is highlighting epic Texas challenges. In the April issue: Angler versus Fish. Largemouth Bass, to be exact.

The article, by Randy Brudnicki, takes readers on a journey through time, starting with a competition in 1955 that was the precursor of the Texas State Bass Tournament.

This year’s tournament is April 28 & 29 at Toledo Bend Reservoir.

Brudnicki asks and answers the question: what makes this tournament epic. He writes that perhaps it’s a combination of elements such as a storied history, unpredictable weather, venue vagaries and a high level of fierce competition.

Part competition, part reunion and part angler fellowship, the Texas State Bass Tournament has kept the man vs. fish vs. man challenge alive for 63 years.

The tournament includes divisions for mixed adult/child teams, senior teams, high school teams, adult teams and individual teams. Competitors range in age from 8 to 80.

Read about the trials and triumphs from past tournaments in Epic Texas Challenge: Angler vs. Fish in the April issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series

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

Help Your Region Win the City Nature Challenge

April 12th, 2018

Join the City Nature Challenge.

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Seven Texas regions will square off as teams against the world and one another during the City Nature Challenge. Teams try to document more plant and animal species than their competitors. Marsha May is a biologist and coordinator for Austin.

And we are using a format called iNaturalist, which is a real easy way of collecting data. You don’t even have to know what it is, because other people will come in and help you identify it through the program.

Last year DFW, Austin and Houston were in the challenge, igniting friendly competition.

Austin and Houston competed for the greatest number of species. We were going neck-and-neck for a while. And it looked like Austin was going to win, but then on the final count, Houston won—by five species. Dallas/Fort Worth, though, had the most observers and the most observations, So, they won with observations, but they had a very, um, gung-ho urban biologist up there.

That gung-ho DFW urban biologist was Sam Kieschnick.
Download the app to your smart phone from iNaturalist.org. Observations made in the metro areas of each city during the challenge will be counted. Any last words, Marsha?

Sam! We’re coming. We’re going to beat you this time. [laughter]

The City Nature Challenge is April 27-30th. There’s more information on the Texas Nature Trackers Page on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife Restoration program supports our series.

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