Watches & Warnings Warnings

Spring is a great time to see migrating birds in Texas

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POSTED: Saturday, April 13, 2013 - 12:00am

UPDATED: Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 4:54pm

Spring migration, temperate weather and more documented bird species than any other state comprise the perfect recipe for an April visit one of the dozens of Texas State Parks that cater to birders with bird-friendly habitat and viewing facilities.

Texas is blessed with more than 630 species of birds, some of them colorful, tropical migrants that return to the state or pass through as the weather warms and food becomes more plentiful. Even those unfamiliar with birding can have fun spotting such easily identifiable species as northern cardinals, green jays, kiskadees, painted buntings, roseate spoonbills and brown pelicans. Beginning birders may want to download Introduction to Birding [http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_bk_w7000_0476.pdf] to learn what to look and listen for.

The Lone Star State is home, too, to the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail, the nation's first, and the 17th annual Great Texas Birding Classic being held from April 15 to May 15.

Each region in this sprawling state - from Gulf Coast beaches to the mountains of Big Bend -- offers a different birding experience and a variety of resident specialty bird species. To learn about the varied birding opportunities, birding facilities and birding eventsat a Texas State Park near you, visit: http://www.texasstateparks.org/birding.

To find a birding event near you, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife calendar of events at [http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/calendar/birds-bats-more ]

A can't-miss birding opportunity for beginning and accomplished birders alike awaits at the World Birding Center headquarters at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park in Mission. Bentsen is one of three Rio Grande Valley state parks that double as WBC sites. At Bentsen, visitors can hike or ride bicycles to see a dazzling variety of birds, many of which visit from Mexico and points further south. Bird feeding and watering stations and photo blinds throughout the park, as well as a two-story hawk watch tower, provide excellent birding vantage points.

A dozen other Texas State Parks have been designated as having the "best birding blinds" that offer prime perches for viewing and photographing our feathered friends: Abilene, Blanco, Brazos, Devils Sinkhole, Falcon, Fort Parker, Franklin Mountains, Goliad, Lake Mineral Wells, Palo Duro Canyon, Pedernales Falls and San Angelo.

To learn about some birding basics and what you should bring on your birding adventure, watch this Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's "Basics of Birding" video: http://www.youtube.com/watchvv=Ygh5d2qNjnk&list=PLE8D618F1022E782C&index=20&feature=plpp_video

To view a YouTube video about Bentsen and the Great Texas Birding Classic, visit: http://www.youtube.com/watchvv=Plz7HDDzpqA&feature=share&list=PL97C99D8AB6E729E5

For a high resolution download of the video news release on the TPWD site, click on the link:http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/files/video/

Look for "MarchVNR_Birding in Texas." There is a split track version and a mixed audio version with CG, both in High Definition.

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