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April is for the Birds

Did you know that “birding” is the most popular sport in the United States? Over 51 million people bird watch in their backyards, state and local parks and even at birding competitions! April is a great time to get outdoors with your family, and birding is an activity the whole family can enjoy— even while hiking, biking or picnicking.

Texas has over 630 species of birds that either live year-round here or migrate through in spring and fall. Some of the best places to view migrating and year-round birds are at near-by Audubon or nature centers, State Parks, National Wildlife Refuges or along the miles of coast line of the Gulf Coast. Many parks and nature centers host guided bird walks, workshops and other birding events. South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley is also home to the World Birding Centers that offer some of the best birding in the world. Visit NatureRocksTexas to find a birding event near you.

Before you head out, share this Introduction to Birding with your family to learn what to look and listen for. You can also download a colorful PDF called “Texas Birds: Introducing Texans to Common Birds” to take with you. And watching this month’s featured video, “Basics of Birding,” will give you an overview of what you should bring, and what you can expect on your family birding adventure.

You can also turn your casual bird watching into something a little more by tracking the birds you see on Ebird citizen science program. Ebird also lists all the birding “hotspots” in your area.

Birding is a great way to introduce children to nature through wildlife observation and learning about migration. While you’re out there, you might just also see some of the butterflies, moths and bats that also migrate through Texas from South America to Canada in the spring and fall.

Birding Organizations Near You:

State Wide: Texas Audubon http://tx.audubon.org

Central Texas: Travis Audubon http://travisaudubon.org

Houston: Houston Audubon http://www.houstonaudubon.org

DFW: Dallas Audubon http://www.audubondallas.org/cedarridge.html

Rio Grande Valley: World Birding Center http://worldbirdingcenter.org