Urban ConservationBird City Texas
Our 2023 Bird City Texas (BCT) applications are currently under review and will be announced in early February. We look forward to more cities committing to habitat protection, threat reduction, and environmental stewardship across the state. Our 2023 cohort will be joining our eight certified cities: Bastrop, Dallas, Dripping Springs, Galveston, Houston, Port Aransas, San Antonio, and Surfside.
After gathering input from partners and communities, we will be updating the BCT program and application to be considerate of interested cities’ resources while still meeting the program’s goals - where birds thrive, people prosper.
Bird City Spotlight:
Port Aransas was certified in 2020 with the help of valuable partners such as University of Texas Marine Science Institute and Texas Master Naturalist. The city has expanded Nature Preserve acreage, continued to manage invasive plants such as Brazilian peppertree, expand native plant demonstration gardens, and added Palladium Port Aransas Apartments to the community group. The apartments have installed dark sky lighting, native landscaping and only allow indoor cats. Rae Mooney, Nature Preserve Manager with the City of Port Aransas, says "being a certified city is important because our community works very hard to create safe places for birds, to educate our residents and visitors on ways to help birds, and to provide trails and bird viewing amenities for wildlife viewing". With their renown Whooping Crane Festival in February and the beautiful winter weather, we encourage you to visit this Bird City.
New Program Coming Soon! Bird Friendly Texan Webinar Series
We are excited to announce a new series kicking off this spring – Bird Friendly Texans webinars. Join us on even months to hear from speakers about topics that cover all areas of our work such as our Coastal 100 anniversary, coastal restoration, education, policy, prairie and grassland conservation, and much more. Details will be soaring into your inbox in the coming months. If you have ideas for speakers or topics, please submit them to Chloe Crumley.
Audubon Chapters consist of passionate folks interested in birding, conservation, and education. Throughout 2023, we will update the Audubon Texas webpage for easy access to connect with Texas chapters and offer opportunities for regional and statewide meetings, both in person and virtual. Connect with a chapter in your neck of the woods!
Chapter Highlight: Prairie and Timbers Audubon Chapter (PTAS), started in 1980, serves Collin County and the surrounding area. Their monthly meetings are scheduled on the 4th Tuesday at 6:30pm with programs focusing on wildlife, ecology, conservation, and of course, birds! This chapter is a great place to learn and to surround yourself with passionate people.
At this year’s Christmas Bird Count, the chapter had some interesting sightings! Prairie and Timbers supports two CBC’s in the area — The McKinney CBC co-sponsored by the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Lake Ray Hubbard CBC. With more than 25 participants, the McKinney count observed 102 species from 12,884 individual birds.
Among the species seen were a new-to-the-count Fish Crow, a species that has been slowly expanding in the area over the past decade; and one unusual species, a Rufous Hummingbird, a rare but occasional winter visitor to the area. The Lake Ray Hubbard count spotted an out-of-season Blue-gray Gnatcatche, a bird that typically spends the breeding season in North Texas and winters to the south. They had 15 participants and observed 94 species from 7,968 individual birds this year.
Policy UpdatesTexas Policy Priorities
The 2023 Texas legislature has convened, and a question nags: are birds political animals? Seems like they’d be interested, given their proclivities for assemblages, speeches, and calls to action....
Texas’s birds will be relying on Audubon Texas and our partners to represent them. Power generation, the reimagining of Texas’ energy market, and consequences for Texans and birds is a topic front and center. The Public Utility Commission (PUC) continue to reimagine how gas suppliers, generators, grid managers, and consumers will be impacted by shifts in market designs change how we deliver power to Texas electricity customers. For the first time since 1999, Texas is rethinking its energy-only market to rely on a capacity-like market to ensure the lights stay on and we don’t have a repeat of Winter Storm Uri. While we agree with the goals of maintaining a resilient grid amidst ever-more extreme weather events, we have real concerns about the mechanisms that are being used to create this resiliency, whether they will work, and what they will cost Texas consumers, both in the pocketbook and in terms of decarbonizing our grid. Read More
Prairie & Grassland Conservation Audubon Conservation Ranching (ACR) participated in the 2022 Austin Food and Wine Festival as one of two tasting sessions on Saturday, November 5th. ACR partnered with Burgess Cellars, a regenerative winery in Napa Valley, for a jerky and wine tasting titled, A Palate for the Planet. Three jerkies from three ranches (Cope Grass Farm, Burgundy Pasture Beef, Black Leg Ranch) were paired with three wines from Burgess Cellars for a truly unique tasting experience.
Also in November, the Leo and Pittman Units of the Dixon Water Foundation’s North Texas ranch received their ACR certification. Along with the foundation’s Mimms Unit in Marfa, Texas, more than 20,000 acres managed by the Dixon Water Foundation is certified as bird-friendly. Thank you for all of your stewardship, and congratulations!
Learn more about Texans use of Regenerative Ranching with this video from the Houston Chronicle. Rancher Loy Sneary and his son Adam Sneary converted their 4,000 acres of ranch land in Matagorda County southeast of Houston to a regenerative ranching operation six years ago. Sneary’s ranch is Audubon Certified bird-friendly.