Birding the Hills program set for April 29-May 3

Texas Hill Country birding event will focus on Gillespie County

Writer: Paul Schattenberg, 210-859-5752, paschattenberg@ag.tamu.edu

Contact: Dr. Maureen Frank, 830-278-9151, mgfrank@tamu.edu

FREDERICKSBURG — The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will present a Birding the Hills program in Gillespie County from April 29-May 3.

“We decided to plan this program after the success of Birding the Border in Val Verde and Kinney counties last year,” said Dr. Maureen Frank, AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist, Uvalde. “Gillespie County is in the heart of the Texas Hill Country and this program allows for three full days of birding in the Edwards Plateau ecoregion.”

Program attendees will learn about the area and its bird species during a welcome dinner upon arrival, Frank said.

The Birding the Hills program will focus on birding sites in the Texas Hill Country. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service graphic)

“The following days will be full of birding on both public lands and private ranches in a variety of habitats, with educational programs presented by subject experts each day at lunchtime,” she said. “We will travel through the unique habitats of the Fredericksburg area to find target species such as golden-cheeked warbler, black-capped vireo, yellow-billed cuckoo, blue grosbeak and zone-tailed hawk.”

The price is $1,200, with half that amount due in the form of a deposit to reserve a spot. This price covers lodging, transportation, meals, access to birding sites and participation by avian experts.

Participation will be limited to 16 people.

All accommodations will be at the Inn on Barons Creek, 308 S. Washington St. in Fredericksburg. Participants may check in as early as 3 p.m. April 29 and must check out by noon May 3. Breakfast is included with service starting at 6 a.m. Tour departure times each day will range from 6:30-7 a.m.

Frank said attendees should check the weather forecast before their trip and pack accordingly.

“April is when this region typically gets some rain, so we recommend a good rain coat and any protective gear needed for your birding equipment,” she said. “We also recommend packing a light jacket, long pants, shorts, long-sleeved shirts and short-sleeved shirts.”

Sturdy walking or hiking shoes are a necessity, she said, as some birding sites require walking over uneven terrain. Participants should be comfortable with moderate physical activity. In the event of inclement weather the program schedule may need to be modified, but there will be no refunds given.

Frank said participants should be prepared for a complete birding experience in some of the state’s most beautiful wild habitats.

“Bring any equipment that you would like to use for birding, such as binoculars, spotting scopes, cameras and field guides,” she said. “There will be wi-fi internet service at the hotel, but cell phone service will be limited throughout the areas we will travel.”

Frank also suggested bringing insect repellent to keep away biting insects, which are active in the spring. Participants will be required to sign liability forms, including forms that provide access to certain private properties.

“We anticipate this will be another successful and exciting AgriLife Extension birding program,” she said.

For more information, go to: https://wildlife.tamu.edu/birding/.

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