Bird City Texas
An energetic committee of conservation-minded individuals from Bexar Audubon Society led the effort to certify San Antonio as a Bird City Texas to join Dallas, Houston, Bastrop, and Port Aransas.
San Antonio Achieves Bird City Texas Designation
A steering committee led by co-chairs Britt Coleman (BAS Board Secretary) and Sherie Gee (BAS Outings co-chair) and representing a variety of concerned groups, such as the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, Native Plant Society, San Antonio Parks & Recreation, and many others, completed an application and submitted it in December 2020 for San Antonio to be certified as a Bird City Texas.
On February 11, the announcement was made that their efforts paid off! Read the press release from Texas Parks & Wildlife Department here. But our work isn't finished; we'll let you know about upcoming opportunities to get involved in carrying out our Bird City Texas projects.
The San Antonio Report's Feb. 13 article (Cedar Waxwings photo above is from the story) features BAS members who worked very hard on the Bird City Texas (BCT) application and outlines some of the upcoming BCT-related projects we'll be undertaking with help from volunteers.
Robert L. B. Tobin Land Bridge Opens at
Phil Hardberger Park
The 150 ft. wide by 150 ft. long land bridge spanning Wurzbach Parkway opened at Phil Hardberger Park on December 11, joining the two sides of the 311-acre park. Pictured is one of the two wildlife viewing blinds. Each blind also has a water feature nearby. The bridge was built to provide a way for both animals and people to cross over Wurzbach Parkway, the only bridge like it North America. Read more.
Volunteer for Downtown Bird Casualties Survey
One of the elements of our Bird City Texas designation involves collecting data about bird casualties due to building collisions as part of a Lights Out Texas–San Antonio initiative. Bexar Audubon Society, in association with Texan by Nature, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, needs volunteers to help with downtown bird surveys from 6:00 to 8:00 AM from April 19 through May 7 during peak spring migration. The data collected will be used to pinpoint downtown areas where birds are most vulnerable and to work with building owners and managers to help mitigate bird casualties by turning off excessive lighting at night from 11 PM to 6 AM during peak migration periods in spring and fall.
How to Volunteer
Please open the registration sheet here and choose as many dates as you can to volunteer. Enter your name, email address, and mobile phone number. If you have someone who can partner with you on the dates you choose, please add their contact info to the registration sheet. If you don’t have a partner, another volunteer will be paired with you so that no one is walking a route alone; masking and social distance precautions will be in place.
Training for Volunteers
Volunteers must watch a brief FREE training session online prior to their first survey for iNaturalist instructions and to learn the survey protocols. Training session is approved for Alamo Area Master Naturalist (AAMN) AT hours and the surveys are approved for AAMN volunteer hours.
Sign Up to Volunteer
Click here to register for the day(s) you want to volunteer. Click here for the volunteer training guide, PowerPoint slides, video of required online training session, and videos about how to collect and photograph bird casualties.
City Council Passes Resolution Recognizing
World Migratory Bird Day
[San Antonio, Tx. December 4, 2020] The San Antonio City Council voted unanimously in council session December 3, 2020, to support the Resolution that annually recognizes WORLD MIGRATORY BIRD DAY (WMBD) as being significant to the city and community at large. San Antonio is in the Central Migratory Flyway and is an essential stop for migratory birds in both spring and fall due to the diverse ecosystems found in Bexar County. The resolution further recognizes Mitchell Lake Audubon Center (MLAC) located just south of San Antonio. MLAC conducts a celebration of WMBD every spring in early May with many educational community outreach programs featuring birds and the habitats in which they live.
Skywalk at Phil Hardberger Park is Now Open
A ribbon cutting ceremony on April 5, 2021 marked the opening of the Skywalk, which ascends from the Blanco Road side of Phil Hardberger Park at the Water Loop Trail and joins the Robert L. B. Tobin Land Bridge. The 1,000-feet long and 18-feet high Skywalk features an overlook and affords great views into the park and onto the land bridge. Former San Antonio Mayor Phil Hardberger, current San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, author John Phillip Santos, and J. Bruce Bugg, Jr. of the Tobin Endowment spoke at the ceremony.
Learn Why It's a Bad Idea to Feed Ducks Bread
You see people feeding bread to ducks at area ponds, lakes and rivers all the time. But a diet heavy in breads and other empty carbohydrates can lead to severe health consequences and numerous additional problems for ducks and other water fowl. Read more about why it's a bad idea to feed ducks bread.
Read this Call to Action for Keeping Birds Safe from Light Pollution and Window Strikes
Arthur Melville Pearson, CEO of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, has a written a sobering essay called "The Fall of the Sparrow," which really brings home the most unfortunate ways that light pollution and window strikes bring down birds--possibly ONE BILLION die a year. Click here to read this powerful article.
YOU can ACT to make San Antonio More Bird Friendly!
Do Citizen Science: Enter your bird sightings in eBird. Post photos of birds, plants, animals, butterflies and other insects to iNaturalist. Use the Merlin bird ID app to help identify the birds you see. Participate in the local Audubon Christmas Bird Count and Climate Change counts.
Make Windows Safer: A variety of products are available to place on or next to windows to prevent birds from hitting them. American Bird Conservancy offers several items on their website. Learn how to make a Zen Wind Curtain or purchase one from Acopian BirdSavers. Watch a couple of brief videos about how turning lights out at night can help migratory birds. Video 1 and Video 2.
Keep Cats Indoors: Protect Cats – Birds – Humans: Your kitty doesn't have to stay indoors ALL the time. Buy a catio (cat + patio = catio) plan from Catio Spaces to build a safe, enclosed outdoor area to keep cats and birds safe. Buy pre-made catios at Petco or Catio World. The American Bird Conservancy provides safe solutions for pets on their website.
Avoid Pesticides: Native plants are your best defense against pests. Texas AgriLife has an informative brochure, "Low Impact Pest Control for Everyone," featuring natural remedies for insect and pest control.
Drink Shade-grown Coffee: Ruta Maya is but one shade-grown coffee producer with product available locally. Audubon offers Smithsonian Bird-friendly certified coffee. Birdwatching Bliss provides detailed information about bird friendly coffee. Check out the Cornell Lab's video and articles about bird-friendly coffee.
Reduce Plastic Use: Audubon offers the informative article, "Eight Easy Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Waste." If you live in San Antonio, review acceptable plastics for recycling on this City of San Antonio webpage. We have a Thoughtful Consumer column on the Bexar Audubon website with ideas for non-plastic products to use around the house.
Invest in Solar Energy: Chosen by CPS Energy, Big Sun Community Solar is a new, hassle free way to buy solar energy. Big Sun builds, manages, maintains and insures your offsite solar system while you lower your monthly electric bill and claim the tax savings!
Save Water: San Antonio Water System (SAWS) offers a variety of water-saving programs on their website.
Conserve Resources: Learn how reducing, reusing, and recycling can help you, your community, and the environment by saving money, energy, and natural resources.
Cut Back on Chemicals: White vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and baking soda are all great ingredients you can use to make your own household cleansers.
Create Compost: Start a compost pile to provide natural, organic material to help your plants grow.
Turn Your Lawn into a Xeriscape: In urban areas of Texas, about 25 percent of the water supply is used for landscape and garden watering. Creating a xeriscape with native plants is a good way to provide food for birds and butterflies while cutting back on your water usage.