Monday, June 21, 2010

Backyard Birds of Texas

I spy on my neighbors with binoculars. I watch their most intimate behavior: eating, conversing, bathing, even (ahem) procreating. I spend some time each day at it, and I admit, I enjoy it. Right now there are two couples in particular I've got my eye on. They live in houses hanging from the branches of my oak trees. One is a pair of wrens and the other house sparrows.

The wrens are natives, but the sparrows are invaders from Europe that are overrunning native species. For years sparrows lived in a large colony under my neighbor's siding until he finally plugged the openings with foam. Now that the sparrows can't get into their condos, there are fewer of them and more native birds in my yard: more cardinals and jays and titmice and grackles. (Did you know a grackle is a songbird?)

Texas is the state for watching birds, and APL has the books to help you identify them. My favorite is this one:

(The author's name can't possibly be pronounced tweetin'... you think?)

Books for the birds in Texas:
Finding Birds on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail
Bird Witched
(by a long-time Austin Public Library patron)
Birding the Southwestern National Parks


Stela James said...

beautiful, you are such an amazing writer

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tim snead said...

Wow! Thanks!