Keeping Bexar Audubon Society members informed of activities, issues, policies, and proposals
that affect us all is important to us. We’ll post articles to ensure you’re up to date and
aware of the latest conservation news, projects, and research, as well as offering suggestions on ways you can help, including taking action in your own backyard.
Each week, we'll bring you an idea for products that can help you reduce the use of plastic in your everyday life.
Countertop Compost Bin: Put your food scraps in a 3-liter ceramic container featuring a vented lid, removable inner bucket, and a replaceable natural charcoal filter that traps and absorbs odors. Other countertop compost bin options you can find online include those made of stainless steel, bamboo fiber, and an acacia wood/stainless steel combo bin.
Swedish Dishcloths: Replace 15 to 17 rolls of paper towels when you use just one of these all-natural cleaning cloths made from wood and cotton. Many companies make them, as you'll find when you search the Internet.
Non-plastic Cellphone Case: Durable enough to protect your phone from drops and scratches and 100% compostable!
Reusable Produce Bags: BAS member Pam Peck alerted us to the reusable mesh produce bags with a drawstring for sale at her local HEB. She said she bought three bags for $2 and she found them in the store near the reusable tote bags. Thanks, Pam!
Bar Shampoo: Easy to pack for travel and available in numerous scents and formulas for all hair types, bar shampoo cleans your hair and cuts down on plastic waste.
Goldilocks Wraps: Cotton cloth coated with beeswax for use in wrapping food items for storage. Cute and longlasting! You can find similar wraps for sale from other companies online.
BirdLife International asks you to sign the petition to make it a UN-recognized human right to live on a healthy planet: "The United Nations must show leadership by recognizing a healthy natural environment as a human right as part of their response to the coronavirus crisis."
New iNaturalist Project: Bird Window Strikes in 9 Central Texas Counties
SAVE BIRDS FROM GLASS COLLISIONS! Birds can’t see glass. As a result, up to one billion birds hit glass and are killed each year in the U.S. alone as they try to navigate around houses, office buildings, and other obstacles.
This iNaturalist project seeks to document window strikes that result in bird mortality by collecting data on such strikes in the nine-county area served by Bexar Audubon Society. This data will be used to EDUCATE people about the danger that glass poses to birds and to INFORM individual and city decisions on building practices and bird conservation (bird-friendly glass and strike prevention methods).
If you find a deceased bird whose death was caused by flying into a window, please take a photo of the bird and upload it in iNat to this project. We need the specific location where each photo was taken (name of building, street address, GPS coordinators, or other locators). We are collecting data to document where the strikes are occurring so we can address the underlying causes (glass type, lighting, feeder position, plantings that attract birds, etc.)
IF YOU FIND AN INJURED BIRD that has obviously hit a window, please call Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation EMERGENCY NUMBER 830.336.2725; their staff will advise you.
WARBLER WOODS CAN TRANSFER DECEASED BIRDS TO TEXAS A&M: Warbler Woods Bird Sanctuary in Cibolo, just northeast of San Antonio, is licensed to hold the birds that will then be transferred to Texas A&M. If you find a deceased bird, even a common one:
1. Put deceased bird in a plastic freezer bag and include a note with county in which the bird was found, reason for death if known, species if known, date if known
2. Remove air from plastic bag and store in freezer
3. Make arrangements to bring bird to Warbler Woods Bird Sanctuary by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Place the bird in the garage freezer at Warbler Woods and email Warbler Woods to let them know you have dropped off the bird
Conservation Wins in Congress Deserve Celebration
Wildlife conservation has been on the table in the U.S. Congress recently, as illustrated by two huge moves. On June 17, the U.S. Senate passed the Great American Outdoors Act which would fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund and much-needed maintenance in our national parks. On July 1, the House passed a Transportation and Infrastructure bill that included the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act language.
But celebration is not enough. Each of us needs to act to keep this momentum going.
Let’s look deeper to learn more:
LWCF: The Land and Water Conservation Fund was established by Congress in 1964 to fulfill a bipartisan commitment to safeguard our natural areas, water resources, and cultural heritage and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans. Using zero taxpayer dollars, the fund invests earnings from offshore oil and gas leasing to help strengthen communities, preserve our history, and protect our national endowment of lands and waters. The LWCF program can be divided into the "State Side" and the "Federal Side".
The State Side of the LWCF provides matching grants to states and local governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities. Over its first 49 years (1965 - 2014), LWCF has provided more than $16.7 billion to acquire new Federal recreation lands as grants to state and local governments—40,400 grants to state and local governments over 40 years.
The Federal Side of the Land and Water Conservation Fund is used to acquire lands, waters, and interests therein necessary to achieve the natural, cultural, wildlife, and recreation management objectives of the National Park Service. The Land Resources Division utilizes funding from the Federal portion of the Land and Water Conservation Fund to make these acquisitions.
GAOS: The Great American Outdoors Act, passed by the U.S. Senate on June 17, 2020, and pending passage by the U.S. House of Representatives, will provide permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Both political parties and the President have publicly asked for the legislation that will permanently fund LWCF and the backlog of maintenance at national parks, refuges, and forests. The bill now heads to the House in HR 7092.
RAWA: In July 2019, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) introduced the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) in the House, which would provide transformational funding for fish and wildlife species of concern in states and on tribal lands and provide critical funds to increase nature education and outdoor recreation. The bill addresses the decline of many wildlife species as reported in Reversing America’s Wildlife Crisis,
RAWA will provide funding for the conservation or restoration of wildlife and plant species of greatest conservation need; the wildlife conservation strategies of states, Indian tribes, or territories; or wildlife conservation education and recreation projects. This bill amends the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act to direct the Department of the Treasury to transfer revenues from energy and mineral development on Federal lands totaling $1.3 billion to the Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Subaccount of the Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration Fund, to be available without further appropriation.
RAWA scored a victory in early July when it was passed through the House of Representatives as part of HR 2 (Moving Forward Act), which is a Transportation and Infrastructure stimulus package. The bill provided 5 years of full RAWA funding, which is enough time for the conservation community to demonstrate huge conservation successes. The bill package now moves to the U.S. Senate.
Letting your US Representatives and Senators know that you support these conservation measures will be critical to keeping this momentum going.
Our parks, refuges, forests, and wildlife need our help.
Please stay in the know and act.
Purple Martin House Repair Pays Off
Bexar Audubon member Allison Hayne cleaned and repaired the Purple Mountain houses at the Judson Nature Trails in Alamo Heights and now she reports the houses are in use and young are being raised. Bexar Audubon contributed $150 to Allison's efforts.
Audubon's Work in Protecting Birds on the Gulf Coast
10 Years After the BP Oil Spill
Since the BP oil disaster 10 years ago, Audubon has been protecting birds at more than 600 sites across the Gulf Coast. Last year Audubon developed a science-based plan that outlines 30 projects worth $1.7 billion, which will collectively address the recovery and health of 11 flagship bird species like Brown Pelicans, Black Skimmers, and Least Terns. Learn more.
I Saw A Bird: Audubon’s Spring Migration Show brings a bit of the bird world indoors for everyone, no matter where they are. This Facebook Live series highlights funny, engaging, educational, and sometimes weird bird-related topics and discussion, all while fostering a sense of community for everyone who has found joy in birds while stuck at home. More info and links to the episodes can be found here.
An Unlikely Partnership Can Bring Grassland Birds Back
From National Audubon Society: For thousands of years, grassland bird habitat has been shaped by bison and other large grazing mammals. But today, grassland birds are one of the most threatened bird groups and barely a third of their habitat remains. Fortunately, the cattle that have replaced America’s bison can still help create excellent habitat for grassland birds when managed properly. Learn how Audubon’s partnership with America’s ranchers across 2.2 million acres can help bring grassland birds back from the brink. Keep reading
When It's Okay (or Not) to Feed Birds
Providing food—for photography or simple enjoyment—can be a thorny issue. For guidance, ask yourself these three questions: Is this species at risk? Is the food appropriate and safely provided? Is feeding this bird likely to change its behavior in harmful ways? Read more in this thought-provoking article from National Audubon.
Seven Things Every Nature Lover Should Know
Understanding bird etiquette and obeying the law are common threads that unite us in our hobby and experience. The welfare of birds must come first. Here are seven of the most important things to remember to protect yourself and birds. Adapted from Birds and Blooms (Dec. 2019/Jan. 2020) article by Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman. Read more.
Observations Shared by Bird Watchers Reveal Migratory Pathways of More than 600 Bird Species
Nature is wondrous and one of the most fascinating phenomena in nature is migration. Twice a year birds embark on perilous journeys crossing mountains, deserts, and oceans, sometimes traveling more than 3,000 miles each way. Even tiny birds weighing less than a nickel, such as Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, cross the Gulf of Mexico to and from their wintering grounds every year. Read this article by Kathi Borgmann at eBird.org.
What are the Best Native Plants for Your Yard?
Search the National Audubon Society's Native Plant Database by zip code
to find the best native plants for birds in your area.
Do you Have Old Bird Lists But No Time to Enter in eBird?
Allan Seils, Travis Audubon Society Member, has a passion for preserving historic bird records. He has digitized and uploaded to eBird thousands of bird sighting records that otherwise would be lost—a hobby he does for free. If you have old field notes/checklists you want to have digitized and possibly uploaded into eBird or other databases, please contact Allan by email.