We are down to the wire to kick off Summer Bird Camp 2016. Today is the last day for registrations. We have developed a full week with many fun games and learning activities for our weeklong camp. Camp is from 9:00am to 1:00pm each day at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory sanctuary in Lake Jackson. Enrollment is limited to allow each camper a special experience with lots of hands-on involvement and discovery. The fee is $150 with s
ome scholarships available. Please e-mail Reba with questions or to get the registration forms back to us today.
Our partner American Bird Conservancy has launched a fund raising campaign to support our Beach Nesting Birds project. Beach nesting bird populations on the Gulf Coast have seen a steady decline since the days John James Audubon fell in love with our abundant birdlife. For the Fab Four of beach nesting birds, the Wilson's Plover, Least Tern, Black Skimmer, and Snowy Plover, nesting on the beach can be a huge challenge. Coastal development, off-road vehicles, beachgoers, and pets equal a perfect storm of threats and endanger their very existence. You can help by donating today to our Beach Nesting Birds project which will enable us to continue to monitor these birds' nesting success and enact protection mechanisms that will help give them a better chance at nest success.
Jennifer Wilson (Texas Mid-coast NWR biologist) and GCBO biologist Susan Heath made an important recovery last month. In spring 2015, they put 10 small geolocators on breeding eastern Willets at the San Bernard NWR. In late March 2016, several of these birds returned from their unknown wintering grounds and Jennifer and Sue were able to capture one bird and retrieve its geolocator. The data revealed that the bird, a male, departed Texas on July 10th. It flew across the Gulf of Mexico to the Yucatan Peninsula, spent a day there (July 12th) and then flew straight to the Bay of San Miguel on the southern coast of Panama arriving on July 14th. It spent the winter there and on March 23 of this year, it began its flight back to Texas. It took a similar route as it did in July returning to the refuge on March 26th. This represents a new wintering location for U.S. breeding eastern Willets and adds a big piece to the migratory connectivity puzzle for this species! Jennifer and Sue hope to recover more geolocators before the birds depart again in July.
photo by Debbie Repasz
This year Dow Texas Operations will hold their annual Skimmer Day on Saturday, June 25th from 9:00am to noon. This free public event provides a rare opportunity to view one of the largest nesting colonies of Black Skimmers on the Texas Gulf Coast. Black Skimmers are considered colonial waterbirds because they nest in large colonies, usually on bay islands. These unique birds have a lower mandible longer than the upper which enables them to employ a unique feeding style. They feed by flying low over the water, opening their bills and skimming the water with their lower mandible to catch small fish. According to the colonial waterbird data, Black Skimmers pairs have declined on the Texas coast by 70% in the last 40 years so this colony at Dow is of increasing importance. Meet at the Dow A-41 gate located on FM 523 which is 1 mile south of the Hwy 332 and FM 523 intersections for shuttles to the site. Dow could use some bird knowledgeable volunteers to help with this event, so if you are interested in helping, please contact Janice Waldron.
We are seeking summer and fall RV hosts. Come spend a season with us on our beautiful 34-acre forested sanctuary just 5 minutes from town! In exchange for a beautiful spot to spend your time, we ask for assistance around the sanctuary including greeting visitors, doing light maintenance and mowing, and other duties that might come up. If interested, you can find our ad on workampingjobs.com and read the full description. Search for ads in Texas and then scroll down to find GCBO. Or you can check out the description on our website where you can download the application.
photo by Tony Leukering
For the last six months, Tad Finnell has been a dedicated volunteer changing our hummingbird feeders once or twice a week to keep these tiny birds happy. Thank you Tad! He is ready for a break, so we need a volunteer to take over this responsibility for the summer. We have five feeders out and because of the heat they need to be changed twice a week. We realize this is a big commitment for one person, but if we could get two hummingbird loving folks to volunteer, they could each do it once a week. If you can dedicate some time to this task, please contact Sue.
Shhh, wish I could keep this a secret. Mad Island Marsh Preserve is an amazing ecosystem. We saw great birds�White-tailed Hawks, Whooping Crane, Great Horned Owl and Barn Owl were among a few of my favorites. We had a marvelous time! The lodge was very comfortable, food was made by a gourmet cook and was excellent and the guides�well, what can I say, Susan Heath and Rich Kostecke! Thanks for the great time!
Purchase your "experience" in November 2016!
Our wish list has shrunk considerably! Thanks to all who donated. There's only a few items left. Can you help us out? Take a look and see if you can donate any of these items. We will be happy to provide you with a tax donation letter for your efforts!. Thanks so much.
June is here and that means babies! We should be catching a lot of young birds this month as the first fledglings of the year find out what bird banding is all about. In May we had to close up shop early due to rain but not before we caught this handsome male White-eyed Vireo. You can see where the bird gets it name in this photo. Come join us and see what turns up in the nets this month. Bird banding will be on Saturday, June 18 from 8:00 until noon. Remember, the birds get up early so the earlier you are here the more you'll see. Seeing birds in the hand is a great way to get kids young and old excited about wildlife. See the map on our webpage for directions or use your GPS to take you to 299 Hwy 332 West, Lake Jackson, TX.