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.
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.
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.
The resolution, introduced by Councilman Manny Peláez (District 8), was verbally supported during session by council members Ana Sandoval (District 7), Shirly Gonzales (District 5), Rebecca Viagran (District 3), and Roberto Treviño (District 1) as well as by the Mayor’s office by endorsement letter. Julia Murphy, CoSA Deputy Director of Sustainability, supported the resolution with a presentation about the importance of birds to long-term sustainability of our ecosystems, the beauty and contributions of birds, and the need to educate the public about the increased need for bird and habitat conservation in our urban areas.
“The Bird City Texas Committee spearheaded by Bexar Audubon Society Secretary Britt Coleman and Outings Chair Sherie Gee showcased what many organizations in our city are already doing to protect birds and their habitats and to educate the public about the importance of maintaining healthy ecosystems for the welfare of both the birds and the citizens of San Antonio.” said Patsy Inglet, President of Bexar Audubon Society. “Where birds thrive, people prosper in the long run. Our thanks to the Mayor and City Council of San Antonio for their support.”
“Today my colleagues and I added San Antonio’s voice to a global chorus of cities and institutions that celebrate World Migratory Bird Day each year to raise awareness of migratory bird conservation efforts and foster appreciation for the hundreds of species that travel through our community annually,” said Manny Peláez, City Council member for District 8.
The approved resolution will be submitted as part of the requirements to certify San Antonio as a Bird City Texas—a community that cares about birds, habitat, conservation, and the community value (quality of life and economics) of both migratory and resident birds. Bird City Texas is a program jointly sponsored and managed by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Audubon Texas. San Antonio has answered all the questions in this Bird City Texas application video with an emphatic YES today.
Bexar Audubon Society (BAS) is the Greater San Antonio area chapter of National Audubon Society. BAS focuses on protecting birds and the ecosystems that they and we depend on. Atascosa, Bandera, Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall, Kerr, Medina, and Wilson Counties are also in the Bexar Audubon Society region.
Mitchell Lake Audubon Center (MLAC) is one of the nation’s finest urban bird and wildlife refuges and a destination for birding and environmental education. Located just 20 minutes from downtown San Antonio, MLAC protects 1200 acres dedicated to connecting people to nature through birds and their habitats.
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.