Bird’s-eye View: Audubon Center Recommended in Record Level City Bond Package
Audubon Texas
Bird's-eye View : Audubon Center Recommended in Record Level City Bond Package
black crowned night heron
View from the Flyway
Dear Friends,

Welcome to the November 2023 Audubon Texas Quarterly newsletter. This is the time of year that we give thanks for the support and partnership of all who are committed to Audubon’s mission of bird conservation. We appreciate all that you do for the benefit of bird populations and the habitats that they need to thrive!

As you will read below, Audubon Texas and partners continue to lead educational programs and convenings, steward coastal habitats, and work with private landowners to engage in regenerative land management practices. We are wrapping up a 100th anniversary year celebrating coastal conservation and looking forward to the next century of coastal habitat stewardship and restoration initiatives. We are very close to reaching a goal of having more than 100,000 acres of land certified through the Audubon Conservation Program in Texas! Programs like Lights Out Texas! and Bird City Texas continue to increase their reach and strengthen connections to coalition members who engage in community-based conservation.

November also brings election season. This year, Texans have a monumental opportunity to increase the amount of land in the Texas State Parks System, which is also celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. Proposition 14 on the statewide ballot will create a $1 billion Centennial Parks Conservation Fund for acquisition and development of new state parks across Texas. Today, state parks total approximately 640,000 acres, less than 0.4% of Texas land area. With more than 1,000 people moving to Texas every day, more parks are needed in our growing state. Your vote can create a Texas-sized conservation impact benefitting all Texans. Early voting ends this Friday, November 3rd and the election is Tuesday, November 7th.

Audubon is looking to the next five years of conservation action devoted to “bending the bird curve” towards the recovery of bird populations across the Americas. In 2024, we will be sharing more information about the future of Audubon conservation and community engagement programs. With Texas’s location along the Central Flyway, the success of the work we do with partners here in Texas can have a positive and far-reaching impact well beyond the Lone Star State. Audubon’s future conservation directions will be driven by hemispheric connectivity of birds and the habitats they need, the wide-ranging impacts of the climate crisis, and a drive to incorporate equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging in everything that we do to engage in bird conservation action at the community level.

Every action that we take together has the possibility of having an outsized benefit for birds and people in Texas. Thank you for your commitment to engage in and support Audubon’s mission.

Warmest regards,

Lisa Gonzalez 
Vice President & Executive Director, Audubon Texas
Black-crowned night heron - John Schieman/Audubon Photography Awards
laughing gull
View from the Birdhouse
By Richard Gibbons, Audubon Texas Director of Conservation

Hello Audubon Network! I have been with Audubon Texas for two months now and the outlook is hopeful and exciting. I am fortunate to be joining the team when Audubon is planning the next several years of conservation work. For us Texans, the way forward is coming into focus.  

Audubon’s conservation priorities are being guided by four themes. We must slow and reverse population declines for bird species across the state in all habitats, but especially grasslands and arid lands. To be successful in our shared mission, we need to plan with our equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging values front of mind; collaborate throughout the hemisphere for full life-cycle conservation; and prepare for the full range of climate change.  Finally, we should play to Audubon’s strengths. If we plan and execute well, our early successes will inspire support and our capacity for positive change will grow. READ MORE
Laughing Gull - Sandy Venneman/ Audubon Photography Awards
Bird City Texas gathering
View From Another Perch
By Chloe Crumley, Audubon Texas Public Affairs and Engagement Manager

Bird City Texas partners share their thoughts…

Bird City Texas is a partner recognition program jointly managed by Audubon Texas and Texas Parks and Wildlife. In late October, more than 50 attendees representing 16 communities across Texas gathered in Bastrop for our first in-person Bird City Texas convening. Partners shared successes and barriers in participating, and explored ways we can support one another in our pursuit to protect birds and their habitat where people live, work, and recreate. Getting together was a chance to reinvigorate ourselves on why we pursue bird friendly spaces. Here’s more about what our partners had to say about the program. READ MORE
Bird City Texas Gathering attendees birding at state park / Panel conversation at the Bird City Texas Gathering 2023
Program & Policy Updates

Policy Update

City of Dallas 2024 Municipal Bond
This weekend, the Dallas Citizen Bond Task Force committee will receive the subcommittee recommendations for the proposed $1.1 billion May 2024 bond projects. Five subcommittees are recommending $1.1 billion in projects. Dallasites will vote on a package of local improvements that include critical facilities; streets and transportation; parks and trails; economic development, housing, and homeless solutions; and flood control and storm drainage. In the effort to create a Greener, Greater Dallas, the Parks and Trails subcommittee is recommending $350 million in park-related improvements. Included in the recommendation is an investment in Trinity River Audubon Center to support facility improvements and a remodel of the education hall and outdoor classroom. This investment for TRAC, including matching funds from Audubon supporters, would bolster the economic potential of South Dallas, increase access and equity to greenspace, and build upon Audubon’s existing community connections. Learn more about the Dallas bond program and key timelines, and stay tuned for how you can support the investment at Trinity River Audubon Center!

Election Day is November 7th (Early Voting through November 3rd)
Your vote counts – During the spring session, Texas legislators supported the creation of a $1 billion Centennial Parks Conservation Fund for acquisition and development of new state parks across Texas. Investing in parks conserves land and water resources, which protects Texas’s quality of life so future generations can enjoy the benefits of natural lands, clean water, divers and abundant wildlife, and natural beauty. It’s up to US, the voters, to secure the creation of this unique fund for future generations. Read more from the state’s leading newspapers which voiced unanimous support for Proposition 14!

(*Audubon Texas is a proud member of the Texas Coalition for State Parks.)

Community Conservation Update

Christmas Bird Count
Audubon's 124th Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will be held from Dec 14, 2023 to January 5, 2024! The Christmas Bird Count occurs December 14 to January 5 every year. The program dates back to Christmas Day 1900, as a way to promote conservation by counting rather than hunting birds. Some counts have been running every year since then, and the CBC now happens in more than 20 countries in the Western hemisphere! CBC circles provide an early-winter census of birds over a 24-hour window within a 15-mile radius to inform species populations trends.  The original 27 Christmas Bird Counters tallied around 90 species on all the counts combined.  

Click here for a map view of the circles expected to be included in the 124th CBC. Learn more about how you can get involved in your local area. READ MORE

Education Update

New Year, New Name! – Audubon’s Conservation Leaders Program for Young Women (ACL) has been known by many monikers over the years, chosen by Audubon staff.  Audubon Texas is proud to announce the new name, chosen by student leaders, with the same goals and guiding principles as the last eight years. Texas Leaders in Conservation (TLC) has launched for the 2023-2024 school year! During the program’s most recent summer camp, students led a conversation on the program name and whether or not it was in-line with the welcoming, inclusive atmosphere the Audubon Texas team has worked to create within the program. The conversation was two-pronged: the controversial history of John James Audubon and the gender limitations within the program name. No decisions were made at the moment, but some alternative names began to take shape. READ MORE

Audubon Chapters
There’s a whole lotta gathering going on! This week, Audubon chapters and other leaders from across the country will meet at the Audubon Leadership Conference in Estes Park, Colorado. Participants will be inspired, challenged, and energized, coming together to harness the power of local action to achieve impact, and create a more equitable and inclusive conservation movement for birds across the hemisphere. For those unable to attend the conference, Audubon Texas will host a follow-up session open to any members who want to hear more about the conference conversations, and how they can get involved in Audubon’s work across Texas, and beyond. Stay tuned for details on the gathering! In the meantime, we hope you continue to connect with your local chapter.

Lights Out, Texas!
Do you know what we find most spooky this holiday season? Non-essential lights left on during 11pm-6am during migration! Dallas-Fort Worth area partners presented at the Texas Master Naturalist Annual Meeting and their results were pretty scary – this season, 313 bird collisions have been documented, 142 of those fatal, with 40 birds rehabbed and released. While the collision numbers are disheartening, please stay vigilant about turning out lights and encouraging your elected officials to commit as well by turning out all city owned building lights. During the peak migration season, please remind your friends and neighbors to go #LightsOutTexas by practicing dimming and turning off nonessential lighting in your own home, posting on social media, and putting a yard sign out. You can find tools and resources for printing a yard sign and example social media posts in the online toolkit.  

Bird Friendly Webinar 
In case you missed it – Audubon Texas’s Bird Friendly Webinars can be found on the Audubon Texas YouTube Channel. August webinars featured Texas Audubon Centers and the program, Tomorrow’s Conservation Leaders. If you have not visited a Texas Audubon Center yet, enjoy the recording and become inspired to create a bucket list for your exploring. Tomorrow’s Conservation Leaders, or TLC, is a career-focused conservation science and service for high school students. Dozens of students have gone through the inspiring program. Watch the webinar recording to hear from three students who participated in the program. Programs like these are not possible without members and supporters like you!  

Coastal Conservation Update
Coastal Program 

The coastal program had a busy summer protecting nesting birds on coastal rookery islands, expanding work in Matagorda Bay, and celebrating the 100 years of Audubon conservation action in Texas. Audubon Texas was honored and excited to be featured in the August/September issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine with an article, Birds Everywhere, published by Lisa Gonzalez, Audubon Texas Vice President and Executive Director and Dr. Larry McKinney, Audubon Texas State Advisory Board member. It was wonderful seeing many of you at the HummerBird Celebration in Rockport and the Port O’Connor boat and fishing expo this fall. Thank you for stopping by to say hi and learn about Audubon’s work!   

This month Audubon Texas enjoyed tracking the Chasing the Tide crew as they walk the entire Texas coast. Follow their progress online. Safe travels, Jay and Chrissy!   

Grasslands and Arid Lands Conservation Update
Audubon Conservation Ranching (ACR) has been going strong in Texas. In July, the National Audubon Society named Thomas Schroeder, of Abilene, the senior partnerships manager for Audubon Conservation Ranching. Schroeder, previously the Audubon Conservation Ranching program manager for Texas and Oklahoma, will now be leading the program’s nationwide effort to create partnerships with ranchers and brands. In his wake are more than 20 ranches that have become Audubon Certified bird-friendly, reaching more than 87,000 acres.

Today, the ACR program has three more Texas ranches engaged in the certification process. The program is on track to increase the acreage of regenerative land management practices for birds to over 118,100 acres in Texas. In the past three months, multiple opportunities for outreach and recruitment have emerged.
Greater-Roadrunner- Ann Pacheco / Audubon Photography Awards
Songs from Our Centers

Trinity River Audubon Center 

Migration journeys are underway at Trinity River Audubon Center.

As the days get shorter (and hopefully cooler!) in Dallas, Trinity River Audubon Center (TRAC) is enjoying welcoming fall migrating birds. Species such as Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Harris’s Sparrows are starting to pop up on the TRAC eBird location list as they make their way south for the winter along the Central Flyway in North Texas. Much like Texans on a road trip, migrating birds look for places along their route to stop and stretch their wings, take a quick rest and – most importantly – grab a snack. TRAC’s fall habitat is ‘stocked’ with native trees, grasses, and forbs (a.k.a. wildflowers) making it easy for feathered travelers to refuel for the next leg of their journey. Everyone invited to see the magic of migration unfold in Dallas’s backyard! 

The center celebrated fall migration during the annual Songbird Supper event on Saturday, Oct. 21. Guests enjoyed an outdoor dining experience at a single communal table, set along the winding, reclaimed prairie with the Great Trinity Forest as the backdrop! Two special feathered friends joined the festivities this year – an American Kestrel and a Screech Owl, both courtesy of local partner, the Blackland Prairie Raptor Center. The Raptor Center is the only facility in North Texas dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of sick and injured birds of prey. View photos from the event here! 

Speaking of celebrations, Trinity River Audubon Center has turned 15! Fifteen years ago in 2008, the National Audubon Society and the City of Dallas opened the doors to the pioneering project – a nature center and native habitat on the site of a former illegal landfill in South Dallas. Today, the Center continues to thrive as a hands-on site for conservation education, community science initiatives, and research. To date, more than 220,000 students have participated in field trips and educational programs at the center!  

TRAC offers a variety of programming, both on-location and at partner events around North Texas. For those new to birding, check out TRAC’s monthly third Saturday Bird Walks – a great way to experience birding with tips and tricks from a local guide. Or, for those looking to add to their Life List, join one of TRAC’s guided offsite Bird Excursions. This November, TRAC will explore Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge in Sherman, TX! Explore all that Trinity River Audubon Center has to offer on the calendar of events. 

Mitchell Lake Audubon Center

Mitchell Lake Audubon Center recently was represented at the Region 20 Gifted and Talented Conference for Southwest ISD 6th and 7th graders, where we engaged with more than 100 students who were interested in learning about careers in conservation. During the workshop, students matched feathers to bird photos, then matched the birds to their habitats and brainstormed ways that their various habitats could be protected. 

Many community programs are being offered, including the Nature at Night program with San Antonio Astronomical Society, using telescopes to show guests the sky at night. This opportunity allowed visitors to connect firsthand importance of dark skies for birds and wildlife. During the program, participants searched for scorpions with a UV light, and guests were particularly excited to find two engaged in a mating “dance.” 

As some of you may know, San Antonio was a key viewing corridor for the exciting solar eclipse in October! Mitchell Lake hosted more than 150 people on the front lawn for a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party on Saturday, October 14. Visitors also participated in themed activities such as a Sun Scavenger Hunt.

Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center

Fall brings cooler temperatures and a host of fun activities and events at Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center. Conservation action comes in many forms, from the experienced birder posting their observations on eBird, to new visitors learning for the first time how to use binoculars. 

October boasted Dogwood’s largest Native Plant Sale to-date, educating and encouraging communities to plant species benefiting the many species or birds and pollinators that reside and migrate through Texas. At the end of October, we hosted Amy Martin, who shared about her new book Wild DFW: Exploring the Amazing Nature Around Dallas-Fort Worth. Both Dogwood Canyon and Trinity River Audubon Centers are highlighted in this book! The event concluded with a night hike, wine, dessert, gift shopping, and self-guided walks.
Dogwood Canyon is a gateway for families who may be new to experiencing the outdoors as well as the seasoned naturalist. Whether you are dipping your toes in or jumping all in, we have a nature connection for everyone. Check out our website for upcoming programs.
ACL class / Program Board at Dogwood Canyon / Eclipse party at Mitchell Lake / Songbird Supper at Trinity River
National Audubon Society Update
On November 1, 2023, the American Ornithological Society (AOS) Council announced three commitments regarding eponymous English bird names. AOS maintains the English names for bird species in North America, and arrived at the decision after a lengthy and robust process. 
AOS President Colleen Handel, Ph.D., said: “There is power in a name, and some English bird names have associations with the past that continue to be exclusionary and harmful today. We need a much more inclusive and engaging scientific process that focuses attention on the unique features and beauty of the birds themselves. Everyone who loves and cares about birds should be able to enjoy and study them freely—and birds need our help now more than ever.” 
National Audubon Society has been committed to respecting and implementing the AOS’s decision in any outcome. Now that they have made their decision, we will be using the AOS’s new names and will continue to work with them in their next phase.   
Double-crested Cormorant & American White Pelican - Donald Wuori / Audubon Photography Awards

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Thank you for your continued support of Audubon. The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon's state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon's vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. For more information, events, and to find your local chapter visit You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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