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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Learning about Birds

I'm thorougly enjoying my volunteer job at the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center. As I struggle to learn about bird identification, I realize how many species of birds either make their home in, or migrate to, the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

I'm totally fascinated by the birders - the knowledge, enthusiasm and energy they have for birds. Some come to the Center and spend hours on the boardwalks looking for new species. Each new identification thrills them - I think the hunt becomes as much fun as the actual sighting.

Last night I talked with avid birder Nan Wisherd, owner of Cable Publishing. She told me she identifies birds by sight but her sister identifies them by sound. I think sound would be very difficult for me. It seems so much easier to learn about their physical characteristics and habits than to distinguish their songs. I even have a hard time determining the direction of the sound when there is more than one bird.

There's one bird I really want to see, the Red-Crowned Parrots shown in the photo above (photo from http://www.worldbirdingcenter.org/ site). Red-Crowned Parrots, normally living in Mexico, come as far north as the Rio Grande Valley. They are most often seen in flight and have been seen near Fort Brown in Brownsville, Harlingen, Rio Hondo, Pharr, the Valley Nature Center in Weslaco and at Quinta Mazatlan in McAllen.

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