Bexar Audubon Society Outreach
In addition to the outings planned by Bexar Audubon Society in San Antonio, we also enjoy promoting, attending, and providing volunteer support for birding festivals and special events outside of our immediate area. Check back often to learn more about upcoming events.
Visit the Valley for Rio Grande
Birding Festival Nov. 10 - 14
The 2021 Rio Grande Birding Festival, based in Harlingen, will offer over 120 field trips from November 10 -14, keynote speakers, afternoon presentations, a rousing trade show (called Birders Bazaar), a whopping silent auction, a souvenir booth, and the fabulous art and photographs from local students. Come reunite with birders from across the country – seeing old friends and making new ones. Be sure to plan your trip to arrive on Tuesday, November 9th to attend the Welcome Reception Tuesday evening. Music, noshes, and sips! Register here.
Choosing Bird-friendly Plants
Click here to read Seth Patterson's informative article about landscaping for birds. Seth is a conservation consultant for San Antonio Water System.
Learn More About Birdability
Through education, outreach, and advocacy, Birdability works to ensure the birding community and the outdoors are welcoming, inclusive, safe, and accessible for everybody. The organization focuses on people with mobility challenges; blindness or low vision; chronic illness; intellectual or developmental disabilities; mental illness; and those who are neurodivergent, deaf, or hard of hearing or who have other health concerns. In addition to current birders, the group strives to introduce birding to people with disabilities and other health concerns who are not yet birders so they, too, can experience the joys of birding. Read more.
Mitchell Lake Audubon Center:
The Hidden Jewel of San Antonio’s South Side
Birdwatching enthusiasts from across the globe call Mitchell Lake Audubon Center a world-class destination. Its mission is to connect people to nature through conservation and community education focused on birds and their habitats. Mitchell Lake’s ponds, grassland, wetlands, brushland and woodlands boast more than 340 bird species as well as a diverse assemblage of reptiles, amphibians, insects, mammals, and plants. Located at the literal crossroads of San Antonio’s thriving hike and bike trail system, this 1,200 acre hidden jewel of the South Side is uniquely positioned to become a vibrant, gateway destination for nearby residents, nature lovers throughout the region, and birding enthusiasts from around the world.
Birds need us
Mitchell Lake’s wetland habitat is one of the last critical stopover grounds before the Texas Coast. Shorebirds utilize muddy shores or mudflats to gather important food resources. Mitchell Lake is the only site in the San Antonio area that has mud flat habitat vital to shorebirds, making the habitat here critical for migrants. Additionally, it is a major wintering site for migratory waterfowl.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 98.5% of long-distance migratory bird species in the US pass through Mitchell Lake Audubon Center
- 340+ bird species documented at the center
- 30 species documented from Audubon's WatchList for Bexar County (bird species that have the greatest conservation needs)
- 120 plant species
- 315 acres of wetlands & ponds
- 285 acres of brushlands, grasslands, and woodlands
People love us
From its inception in 2004, Mitchell Lake Audubon Center has welcomed visitors to its refuge, inviting them to participate in nature education programs. This innovative approach—preserving open space not just to protect wildlife and native habitat from people, but to actively engage people in its conservation through learning and exploration—serves as a model for Audubon and other nature education centers nationwide and has influence the development of place-based experiential learning as a highly effective pedagogical practice.
BY THE NUMBERS
- 12,000 visitors annually
- 53% visitors from San Antonio and surrounding area
- 49 species of birds seen by average explorer
- 7.5 miles of trails
- 4 geocaches
- 4,000 students participate in educational programming onsite
- 81% of students served are economically disadvantaged
- 70% schools served are Title 1
Native Plant Society Videos to View at Your Leisure
Learn about legends and lore of Texas native wildflowers and trees, find out how to create a backyard butterfly buffet, and more. The Native Plant Society of Texas has made several videos available here.
Informative Bird Banding Video from
Mitchell Lake Audubon Center
Bird bander and TPWD and Texas Nature Trackers naturalist Craig Hensley and his team spent a glorious morning banding birds at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center. Watch the video here for an intro to bird banding, including a look at their specialized equipment, and a fantastic up close view of some of the birds banded that morning. Forward the video to 7:42 for the start to finish banding of a beautiful male Northern Cardinal. Other birds in the video are a Loggerhead Shrike, Lincoln's Sparrow, Black-crested Titmouse, Hermit Thrush, and an Eastern Phoebe.
Watch the "Introduction to Birdmania" Video
On Saturday, June 13, 2020, Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy presented a Live Virtual Nature Talk. Birding educators Tom and Patsy Inglet (Patsy is president of Bexar Audubon Society) hosted a birding presentation for all ages. Learn the basics of birding and using binoculars to see local birds. Click here to visit the Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy website to watch the video and download Tom and Patsy's handouts from the presentation.
BAS Sponsors San Antonio
Young Birders Club
Do you like to look at, listen to, and learn about birds?
That makes you a Birder.
Are you between the ages of 8 and 18?
That makes you a Young Birder.
Would you like to improve your birding and leadership skills and have fun outdoors with other people your age who are also interested in birds?
Then join the San Antonio Young Birders Club and become a SAYBC Chickadee!
When we are permitted to gather in groups again, we'll meet once a month between September and June at a variety of great birding spots in and near San Antonio.
Membership in the SAYBC is free, and we have binoculars and bird guidebooks to loan.
If you are interested, please contact Flock Leaders Tom and Patsy Inglet: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Address Nature-Deficit Disorder
in Your Children
By Jenny Miller, STOPNDD.org
Each year, it seems like play shifts further from traditional toys to electronic devices. While there are plenty of educational games for kids on these devices, nothing quite compares to getting outside for some good old-fashioned fun. Not only does exposure to nature help kids get more active, but it also encourages creativity, socialization, and a lifelong respect for the natural world. Find some great ideas for fighting the disconnection from nature below.
Teaching Kids about the Importance of Nature at Home
Since children are drawn to technology, getting them to set aside the devices for a while and head outside is important. Here’s some important info regarding kids and nature.
Exciting Outdoor Adventures for Kids
Now that you understand the importance of spending time in nature, what’s next? Discuss outdoor activities with your child and see what they’re into. If you’re stumped for ideas, the following resources can help steer you in the right direction.
Ways to Give Back While Spending Time Outside
What’s better than spending time in nature? Helping people and the environment while you’re at it! The following resources can help you find ways to give back while enjoying nature.
When given the opportunity, kids will love spending more time outside. There are endless ways to have fun as a family, whether you’re having an adventure or learning something new. Outdoor time can also become more meaningful by finding ways to give back to the community.
Photo credit: Pexels
Mitchell Lake Audubon Center
The Mitchell Lake Audubon Center is open with FALL operating hours (Friday - Sunday, 8am - 3pm), Thursdays by appointment only through February 14th.
Please contact us at least 48 hours prior to your requested Thursday date. Email us at MLAC@audubon.org to book a time.
Guided Birding Tours
On this guided bird tour around the various habitats of Mitchell Lake Audubon Center, guests will see 30-50 different bird species with our expert guide. Travelling by both car and by foot to access as many areas as possible This tour is best suited for the birder age 15+ as it can last up to four hours, though you may leave at any time.
Time & Seasonality
Every Sunday morning (except fifth Sunday of month) at 8:00am
REGISTER HERE for Bird Tours.
Volunteer Opportunities for BAS Members at MLAC
Visitor Center Naturalists
Thank you to all our Visitor Center Naturalists! We so appreciate your time and the volunteer work you do on weekends in support of the Mitchell lake Audubon Center…it is such a great help to the staff on duty! We now have two shifts on Saturdays and Sundays, 8 am-11 am and 11 am-3 pm.
Come out once a week to survey the property and birds at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center. This opportunity is available during the week on Wednesdays when the center is closed to the public. Our onsite host will meet you when you arrive and provide a radio in case of emergency. This activity may be done alone or in pairs. Volunteers will survey the property and input the bird list into eBird, the premier mobile bird tracking app from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.