A Rare Bird for San Antonio

Each year on the Sunday of the week before Christmas, local Audubon Birding groups in San Antonio take to local areas that are heavily populated with birds and make a composite "Christmas Bird Count."
It is analyzed regionally and then added to a database with the results of more than 2,200 other bird counts going on from mid-December to Jan. 5 across the Western Hemisphere.  This years Annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC) is the 113th.

The count began in 1900 as a National Audubon Society protest of holiday hunts that left piles of bird and animal carcasses littered across the country. Prior to the turn of the century, people engaged in a holiday tradition known as the Christmas "Side Hunt": They would choose sides and go afield with their guns; whoever brought in the biggest pile of feathered (and furred) quarry won.

Conservation was in its beginning stages around the turn of the 20th century, and many observers and scientists were becoming concerned about declining bird populations. Beginning on Christmas Day 1900, ornithologist Frank Chapman, an early officer in the then budding Audubon Society, proposed a new holiday tradition-a "Christmas Bird Census"-that would count birds in the holidays rather than hunt them.  So began the Christmas Bird Count.

The CBC helps scientists understand how birds react to short-term weather events and may provide clues as to how they will adapt as temperatures rise and climate changes.  It provides critical data on population trends and tens of thousands of participants know that it is also a lot of fun.

Tropical parula
Tropical parula, seen along Campground Rd, Hidden Valley RV
Hidden Valley has long been a birding site for the local chapter of the Audubon Society and this year they conducted their CBC on Sunday, December 16th.  Chapter members Mr. Bartels and Ms Golden are very familiar with the landscape here as well as the usual habitats and customs of the birds indigenous to this area.  Their enthusiasm is infectious and encourages us all to be more conscious of the creatures of the air we share the earth with.  Below is the current list of birds sighted on December 16, 2012 including what some may call a "Life Bird," not because it's endangered or rare, as is often the case when speaking of seeing your 'life bird' but because, as Ms Golden mentioned "this warbler is rare for this time of year and place...It is a warbler that is seen in Mexico and very southern Texas, so we were excited to see it." 

red wing black birds
great tail grackles
house sparrows
blue birds
eastern phoebe

red tail hawk
cooper hawk
golden fronted woodpedker
downy woodpecker
ladderback woodpecker
Yellow legs 
least sandpiper
great blue heron
great egret
yellowrump warbler
orange crown warbler
tropical parula
red crowned kinglet
house wren
carolina wren
song sparrow
lincoln sp
vesper sp
green wing teal
least grebe
great egret
ring neck duck

Henry, our Campground Road runner
Of course, these are only birds who winter in Texas, the group of summer birds repeats some birds but includes many others.   We've listed over 170 kinds of birds over the years here at the Valley and have adopted one, our Henry.

 So when you travel through San Antonio, remember the Alamo but don't forget the scores of birds that grace our southern state and our SW San Antonio RV Park.  We also have the Medina Natural Area - only 4 miles away and the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center 5 miles from the RV Park.  Ask us for a bird list when you arrive and Happy Birding!

Teri Blaschke is the RV Park operator of family owned HiddenValley RV Park in San Antonio, TX and writer of the park blog “A Little Piece of Country in San Antonio.” Teri contributes to various other blogs with a focus on either travel or social media and how it relates to the outdoor hospitality industry but her passion is serving the RV travel community by providing a memorable RV camping experience and growing the Hidden Valley RV family.  Connect with , Facebook and Twitter@HiddenValleyRV

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