Gulf Coast Bird Observatory January E-News
Do these birds belong in a palm tree? Perhaps not, but they do belong somewhere warm and tropical during the holidays. All of these "palm tree" birds winter in the tropics and fly north each spring to breed in the U.S. That means heading back south in the fall again to survive the winter in a warmer climate. All that traveling is hard on a bird like a Cerulean Warbler that only weighs 8 grams. Imagine the little Ruby-throated Hummingbird that only weighs 3 grams. Migrant birds need our help to provide them with the things they need to survive including quality stopover habitat for migration. GCBO is the only organization dedicated to protecting stopover habitat around the entire Gulf of Mexico. There's still time to make a 2008 tax-deductible donation to help GCBO support the birds. Click on the palm tree to read more about our mission or just use the Donate Button in this e-news.
Our new office manager Reba Craft started on December 1st and she has expertly succeeded now retired Karen. Reba moved to Texas from southern California two years ago with her husband and three daughters. She studied Business Administration at Cerritos College and has several years of experience in an office setting. She loves to be outdoors with her daughters and enjoys teaching them about nature. Come by and welcome Reba to our staff!
Bolivar Flats Workday
On Friday, December 12th, GCBO staff and board members helped our Site Partner, the Houston Audubon Society with hurricane cleanup at Bolivar Flats. Our day consisted mostly of dragging boards and household debris to the beach where these items could then be loaded onto trucks and taken to the main road for removal by the county. For our efforts, we were treated to a fabulous lunch prepared by Julia Garrett. Houston Audubon has done an amazing job of cleanup on Bolivar but there is still much to be done at their sanctuaries along the coast. If you would like to help, consult their webpage for information about workday dates. Together we can make a difference and stamp out Ike blight!
Columbia Bottomlands Tree Planting
On Saturday, December 6th, GCBO staff were part of a cadre of over 100 volunteers who planted 5,000 four-feet tall Shumard and Live Oak trees at the new Texas Mid-Coast National Wildlife Refuge offices in Brazoria County-another Site Partner assistance project. This event was part of an innovative agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to preserve and restore 1,170 acres in the Columbia Bottomlands forest. Funds provided by Reliant Energy and NFWF will be used to acquire additional land that will also be reforested.
Birding Classic Proposals Due
Each year GCBO and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) accept proposals for conservation grants to be awarded by winning Great Texas Birding Classic teams. Proposals can be for land acquisition, habitat restoration, or habitat enhancements such as the one shown above at Packery Channel. Projects can be on public or private lands that offer some level of public access in any of the birding classic designated counties. Refer to the proposal criteria for more information. Proposals can be for $20,000, $10,000, or $3,000 and must be submitted to Shelly Plante of TPWD by Friday, January 30th, 2009. Sponsors are what make these conservation grants possible. For example, Reliant Energy has again committed to be a sponsor at the Roseate Spoonbill level. If you know of a company or individual looking for an environmental conservation initiative to support please tell them about the Classic. If you have questions, call or e-mail Carol Jones at GCBO for more information.
Join Us For Bird Banding
Join us from 8:00 until noon on Saturday, January 17th for our monthly bird banding session. Watch as Robert & Kay Lookingbill band the birds and explain how to determine the species, age, and sex of birds in the hand. See the birds up close and personal like the kids shown above. This is a great way to get kids excited about wildlife, but all ages are welcome! See the map on our webpage for directions. Note that mapquest and googlemaps will not guide you to the right place using our address.