Unlike the irruption of American robins and cedar waxwings during the close of our rather mild winter, the 2016 spring migration season did not provide many unusual or large concentrations of interesting bird travelers. Some alert birders in the Kerrville area witnessed the passing of a larg…

It has been a very busy two weeks in trying to put the finishing touches on the Wings Over the Hills Nature Festival in Fredericksburg this weekend. One of my assignments for the festival is to lead an all-day birding field trip to Junction. I have led trips to Junction in each of the first …

I was out of the Hill Country this past weekend but had several messages of a large flyover in Kerrville about large white birds with black in their wings. Several species of large birds are possibilities regarding identification, including whooping cranes; however, the numbers of birds flyi…

This column is a personal invitation to all my readers to visit the sixth annual Wings Over the Hills Nature Festival, which will be in Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park in Fredericksburg from April 29 to May 1.

As I write this column, millions and millions of birds are on the move to transition from their winter homes in the tropics to their summer homes in the north.

To get a handle on the spring bird migration status, all I need to do is to gauge the sugar water consumption at my hummingbird feeder. In just two weeks, the birds have moved the consumed volume from undetected to more than a pint a day and increasing daily.

The canyon towhee, once known as the brown towhee, is a cardinal-sized brown bird that is a permanent resident of the Hill Country. You are likely to know this bird well, or you may have never paid any attention to it, even when it was hanging out around you. 

Around March 10 is the time all admirers of hummingbirds have their eyes looking for their summer residents to return to their backyards. I have heard that several hummingbirds have returned to the Hill Country, so if you have not put a feeder out for the early birds, I would suggest doing so. 

Last week, while driving north on Milam Street — the road to Enchanted Rock — in Fredericksburg about 4 p.m., a large flock of turkey vultures were circling over Town Creek, apparently looking for an overnight roosting site. Why the vultures caught my attention is that they have just recentl…

While scanning the activity on and under my feeders yesterday, I noticed an active, small black bird working the ground under the feeders. He was about the size of the chipping sparrows he was with; however, he had a white belly, light-colored bill and prominent white outer tail feathers. Hi…

Looking at the results of our Christmas Bird Counts for the past 15 year in the West Kerr area, I have noted an unusual finding related to great egrets. 

The invasion of American robins and cedar waxwings this winter has been a very unusual event for Hill Country residents and has caught many people off guard about their identity because of their high numbers. 

This past New Year’s Eve was spent at home with my wife, a quiet time with no drinks and early to bed for me. How boring! After I woke up refreshed, I went outside to fill my bird feeders, a normal routine with no fanfare. 

When looking back at the birding in the Hill Country, one needs to consider the review from two perspectives — the birds and the birders. We birders always hope that the birds have a good year in that their numbers are high and we get to see good birds all year. If the birds could analyze wh…

It was Christmas time again, and Santa and Mrs. Cardinal summoned the elves — Carolina Chickadee, Blacky Titmouse, Rube and Ruby Kinglet, Bewick Wren and Chippy Sparrow — to discuss this year’s party.

The 116th annual National Audubon Christmas Bird Counts got off to a rousing start Monday with the Mad Island Marsh/Matagorda County count near Bay City. For 16 consecutive years, this count has held the No. 1 position with the most species recorded in a 30-mile diameter circle among the mor…

It took a while for our usual contingent of winter birds to arrive from their summer homes in North America, but the recent cold front seemed to get their attention. Over the past 10 days, I have been literally invaded by American robins, happily scarfing down fruit and abandoning their norm…

After spending a week in the Lower Rio Grande Valley chasing birds and butterflies, I traveled almost a thousand miles up the river to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge south of Socorro, New Mexico. This beautiful national wildlife refuge, located in another valley along the Rio…

One of the interesting aspects of making a birding trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley is that unpredictable surprises are going to happen, some good and some disappointing. This scenario is especially true if you choose the week of the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, when many of the to…

I am spending a full week in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and enjoying every minute of my visit. I am reminded of all the good birding adventures I have enjoyed over the years and what sets this area apart from other special birding venues around the state of Texas. Its sub-tropical climate, …

Shorebirds, in particular sandpipers, and the Hill Country do not seem to go together when one thinks of the winter bird residents we enjoy during our coldest season. However, one of our common winter residents is the spotted sandpiper, which lurks along shorelines of lakes, ponds and shallo…

Recently I was asked to weigh in on an effort to develop a wind turbine farm in Mason County by commenting on the impact of such a development on Hill Country bird populations, in particular, our endangered species. I would like to share the gist of an Op Ed I am writing for the Mason newspa…

During the past month I have twice written articles about our well known Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and their remarkable energetic lifestyles, with particular interest directed to  their endurance in making long flights. Last week, I discussed the possible scenarios for their return to the t…

I had the pleasure last weekend to be a part of the 27th annual Hummer/Bird Celebration in the Rockport and Fulton Beach area of the middle Texas Gulf Coast Region. The focus of the celebration/nature festival is the gathering of large numbers of ruby-throated hummingbirds prior to their ret…

Now is the time to be on the lookout for the arrival of American kestrels returning to the Hill Country for their winter residency. The kestrels are just one of many species of North American raptors migrating southward to avoid the harsh winters in their breeding grounds in the northern sta…

Early fall is the time of the year when most birders awake from a couple of months of low-excitement time following the summer breeding season and begin to think of what the fall migration season will bring. Mornings begin to be cooler and if you get up early, it is possible to get in three …

While spending time along my section of Live Oak Creek this week, a very vocal redbird was succeeding in getting my attention. Not our permanent resident, the Northern Cardinal, this solid red bird with a cream-colored bill was a Summer Tanager. As I recall, the last time I heard the calls a…

On a recent trip to the city of Junction, I found a beautiful male Vermilion Flycatcher chasing flying insects near the tennis courts in Coke Stevenson Park just north of Interstate 10 off of U.S. 377. This colorful, red and black flycatcher is a common resident in the park from the spring t…

This past weekend I traveled to Junction to see what might be hanging around the water features in the bird blind areas in South Llano River State Park. With temperatures in triple digits and not a cloud to be seen, birds are not drifting too far from a site to get a nice bath and cool drink…

After the spring migration season passes, many of us birders go into partial withdrawal from the relatively sudden decreased excitement and challenges of finding new or exciting birds during the two or more month spring migration season. One of the solutions for many birders is to shift thei…

Ten to 15 years ago, if you wanted to see a Hutton’s Vireo, a trip to the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park would have been the likely nearest venue. 

This winter, I have had the pleasure to get to know a flock of about fifty wild turkeys who started hanging around my backyard feeders 

With Christmas and the holiday season just around the corner, avid birders begin to think about participating in the annual North  American bird census surveys. Known as the Christmas Bird Counts (CBCs), the approaching count will be the 115th version to be conducted not only in North Americ…

If you should see some movement on the bark of the tree, it will not be your eyes playing tricks, but a small bird hunting for an insect or spider hiding in the bark.

When a hawk is perched, identification of the different characteristic markers that set various species apart can be more difficult to discern. Many variables such as size, shape, position, light and viewing angle often distort or hide identification markers. When hawks are soaring high over…

After spending just over a week in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, I returned to the Hill Country with some special memories of the trip that I would like to share.

It is amazing how wildlife viewing has changed over the past fifty years from an unorganized, self-motivated endeavor to a high-tech, tour-oriented industry.

My recent trip to Arizona to attend the Sedona Hummingbird Festival had two other intended goals – to find and photograph the rare plain-capped starthroat hummingbird in Southeast Arizona and the endangered California condor in Grand Canyon National Park.