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Guidelines were gathered from The Nature Conservancy’s Migratory Bird Program, American Bird Conservancy, and the Audubon at Home program among other sources.
2002 News Release - 43 bird species from the Coastal Bend made the
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Birding is for Everyone!
It was not so long ago
that any person having an interest in anything other than gardening, fishing,
hunting or sports would have been considered less than normal. It is gratifying
to realize that in the U.S. today, many people appreciate the natural world
and one out of four adults are especially interested in birds. In the United
States and Canada the hobby of birding is exceeded only by gardening.
The Coastal Bend of Texas is not usually known for its majestic scenery and for some people it may appear to be a paradigm of roads that lead to somewhere else. This is a false conception, for the region is the richest place in the US and Canada to find a great variety of birds. Slightly over 650 species are known to breed in the US and Canada. More than 510 species have been found here, with 402 species on the tiny Angelita Ranch, 15.5 square miles immediately west of Corpus Christi. In comparison, the famous Big Bend National Park, 1,106 square miles has recorded only 385 species.
Christmas Counts (CBC)
within the region score in excess of 150 species. In 1996, Corpus Christi
established a new National CBC high with an impressive 233 species! The previous
National high was 227. More than twenty species of New World tropical (Neotropical)
birds are known for the Coastal Bend. Unusual Mexican and pelagic species
appear with some frequency. Birding in this area can be a very exciting and
A Review of the Seasons
Summer (May 15 - August 15): This is an exciting time because during periods of inclement weather marine birds may be found near shore. More than 130 species of birds breed in the Texas Coastal Bend. Large numbers of pelicans, herons, spoonbills, gulls, terns and skimmers have active breeding colonies along the immediate coast and are of special interest. In July and August look for huge concentrations of shorebirds. Thousands of black and least terns can be seen resting on gulf beaches. A variety of songbirds can be seen in austral (southern) oak and riparian woodlands. Click here to download a checklist of summer birds.
Fall (August 15 November 15): Great numbers of shorebirds may be seen in local bays. Most eventful is the migration and concentrations of ruby-throated hummingbirds and buzzard (Buteo) hawks. During late August and September, feeders often attract hundreds of hummingbirds! The annual migration of buzzard hawks can be spectacular! This area has the greatest concentration of hawks in the world. The peak for hawks in the fall is usually between late September through mid October. A good location to observe migrating hawks is along the Nueces River at Hazel Bazemore County Park. Click here to download a checklist of fall birds.
(November 15 March 15): One
hundred thousand redhead ducks, thousands of other ducks, geese, cormorants
and one million shorebirds winter in the area. South Texas contains
numbers of reddish egrets, piping and snowy plovers in the world. More than
six species of hummingbirds may be found at local feeders. Occasionally
green-breasted mango, broad-billed, blue-throated and/or Lucifer hummingbird
can be seen. Boat tours are available from Rockport to see and photograph
whooping cranes. Birds of special interest that have been observed
or immediately after storm systems are: Flammulated owl, green-breasted mango,
green violet-ear, Allens Lucifer and Costas hummingbirds,
white-collared swift, clay-colored robin, Aztec thrush, tropical parula,
hermit and red-faced
warblers, varied and blue buntings, blue-black grassquit, crimson-collared
grosbeak and black-vented oriole. Click
here to download a checklist of winter birds.
Spring (March 15 June 15): During this season, It is not unusual for an experienced birder to see more than 150 species in a day. Large numbers of Neotropical birds, such as thrushes, vireos, warblers, tanagers, grosbeaks and buntings, may be grounded during periods of inclement weather. Exceptional concentrations of songbirds may be observed at eye level during and immediately following periods of rain and strong north wind. Thousands of buzzards hawks move north from the tropics and may, at times, be concentrated at several inland sites. The peak period for the spring hawk migration is from March 20 April 20. The most exciting weather event of spring is called a "Noreaster". This is when a low becomes stationary over south Florida and the northern most islands of the West Indies. This may push heavy rain and strong northeast wind into the Texas coast. Migrating birds caught up in this weather are forced to land in the immediate area. Birds of special interest that have appeared during and after such storms are: green violet-ear hummingbird, mangrove cuckoo, gray kingbird, black-whiskered vireo, black-throated blue, blackpoll, Cape May, Connecticut Warblers and bobolink. Click here to download a checklist of spring birds.
There is no better place
in temperate North America where a person can find such an exciting diversity
of beautiful birds! The Texas Coastal Bend is a mecca for birders from all
over the world. Experience good food, great birds and cordial hospitality;
visitors are always welcome.
For more information see:
Birds of Texas: A field
Guide ( Rappole & Blacklock, Texas A&M Press 1984)
Birds of the Texas Coastal Bend (Rappole & Blacklock, Texas A&M Press, 1985)
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