Oystercatcher Diaries 2019: Field Week 17

By Susan Heath I had some non-negotiable commitments on Tuesday and Wednesday this week which of course were the two days with the best weather. It was a tossup between Thursday and Friday. Neither looked very good from a wind perspective but Alan and I made a go of it on Friday. It was too rough to go check on … Read More

Bird Strikes

inside view of an office with a large window decorated with bird tape

It is estimated that window strikes by birds cause over one billion bird deaths per year in the U.S. alone! Although we have not had a huge number of birds striking our windows here at GCBO, we have had several, and any bird strike is one too many.

Nature notes: Summer bird campers share knowledge; ask others to “help save birds”

cutouts of birds and other animals taped to a window

By Jennifer Horton, with help from Siri Sanketh, Lily Bonser, Ashton Reed, Brandon Weeks, Daniel Faulk, Lauren Faulk, Gage McMillan, Hayden Dietrich, Ainsley McGee, Nikolai Leatherwood, and Ellie Madsen. Summer bird camp at the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory just wrapped up its eighth year of engaging children ages 8 to 11 in fun activities related to birds, nature, and wildlife. … Read More

GCBO June Bird of the Month – Least Bittern

Geography/Habitat: In Texas, Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis) is common summer resident along the Coastal Prairies and the eastern portion of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Inland, they are rare to locally common in the eastern third of the state. In the western portion of the state, it is a very rare and local summer resident due to lack of habitat. … Read More

Oystercatcher Diaries 2019: Field Week 16

By Susan Heath On Tuesday, Alan Wilde and I went out to do a reef survey in Bastrop and Drum Bays both of which border parts of Brazoria NWR. The refuge biologist Jennifer Wilson and I have been talking about building some oystercatcher nesting platforms out there because the habitat is so eroded. The refuge doesn’t encompass the small islands … Read More

Snakes 101

copperhead snake

By Amelia Grider There is no group of organisms that elicits more varied reactions than that of snakes. Even the bravest, animal-loving individuals may squeal or jump at the sight of one of these scaly critters. Our fear response to seeing a snake can’t be helped. We are taught from a young age that snakes are dangerous and our brains … Read More

Oystercatcher Diaries 2019: Field Week 15

By Susan Heath Well I thought the wind was over but I was oh so WRONG! We had to change our monitoring day from Wednesday to Tuesday to avoid the high winds and rain from the tropical low that made its way to our area on Tuesday afternoon. Alan was out of town (having a blast in Costa Rica!) so … Read More

Nature Notes: Life’s a beach, especially if you’re a Wilson’s Plover

wilson's plovers

By Taylor Bennett The Wilson’s Plover is a type of shorebird that breeds along the Texas coast. It is not federally protected currently, but it is definitely a species that we should be more concerned about due to its population decline. It is considered threatened and endangered in some parts of the U.S., but because the majority of the population … Read More

Oystercatcher Diaries 2019: Field Week 14

By Susan Heath I THINK the crazy winds might be over finally, but that didn’t happen until Thursday and we had to go out to West Galveston Bay on Wednesday in 18 mph winds again. What a drag! I was joined by Alan Wilde, Scott Buckel, and Bev Morrison for a bumpy tour of West Galveston Bay. There were white … Read More

Oystercatcher Diaries 2019: Field Week 13

By Susan Heath WIND. That is the defining word for the past week. The wind was blowing 20+ mph every day until Friday so needless to say we couldn’t go out to check on the oystercatchers until Friday. This meant I had to combine two days of work into one because I was scheduled to monitor Black Skimmers and do … Read More

Nature Notes: “I found a baby bird — now what?”

baby Northern Shrike

By Susan Heath This is the time of year when birds are busy making babies and people start spending a lot more time outside. These two things combine to create a situation that’s played out again and again: Someone finds a baby bird and wants to help but doesn’t know what to do. At the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory, we … Read More

Nature Notes: The Hazards of Fishing Line

by Kaitlyn Braddock There are invisible shackles hidden in all of our oceans, lakes, and waterways. They imprison our wildlife in the very ecosystems they live in, leading to cuts, amputations, starvation, and even death. Unfortunately, this is no natural, circle of life situation. Humans are responsible for this material in the water and we need to be aware of … Read More