Birding the Hills set Oct. 7-11 in Hill Country

Multi-day, single-day options now available

The common ground dove is one of the species Birding the Hills will be on the lookout for. (AgriLife Extension photo)

 

FREDERICKSBURG — The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service will hold a multi-day birding workshop Oct. 7-11 in Fredericksburg.

“This is ideal for bird watchers and nature photographers,” said Emily Grant, AgriLife Extension agent, Val Verde County.  “Participants will engage with expert speakers and be able to observe birds on private land not previously open to the public.”

Birding the Hills will be limited to 15 participants. Online registration is available at https://valverdeextension.ticketleap.com/birding-the-hills/. The cost is $250 per day or $850 for the entire event.

The cost includes lunch and dinner while in the field and transportation to birding locations in the Edwards Plateau ecoregion. Departures each morning will be from the AgriLife Extension office in Gillespie County, 95 Frederick Road, Fredericksburg.

The Edwards Plateau covers an area of West Central Texas that lies roughly between San Angelo, Del Rio, Austin and San Antonio. The eastern part of this region is considered the Texas Hill Country.

Workshop highlights include a welcome dinner, three full days of birding, photography opportunities at a private ranch acclaimed by nature photographers and access to private lands, some of which have never been birded before.

“Birding the Hills is a great birding program for beginner and intermediate birders,” said Emily Grant, AgriLife Extension agent, Val Verde County. “We’ve focused on educating landowners and birders about the opportunity to use private lands for nature tourism opportunities, and we now will have access to some truly remarkable properties.”

Some of the species the workshop hopes to see include the pied-billed grebe, white-tailed kite, Swainson’s hawk, common ground dove, rufous-crowned sparrow, clay-colored sparrow, pyrrhuloxia, canyon wren and canyon towhee.

“We’re right in the heart of Texas Hill Country, and we’re excited to welcome birders from Texas and across the U.S. to this event,” said Brad Roeder, AgriLife Extension agent, Gillespie County. “Participants will gain access to some of the most scenic ranches and places in Gillespie County.”

Each day will feature a different guest speaker during the lunch break covering a wide-range of topics related to birding and wildlife.

The educational programs and speakers include:

-Oct. 7,  Birding and Bird Watching: Contributions to Our Conservation Legacy – Romey Swanson, Audubon Texas director of conservation strategy, Dallas.

-Oct. 8,  Beef, Birds and Butterflies: Sustainable Coexistence in an Agroecosystem – John Tomecek, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist, San Angelo.

-Oct. 9,  Back(yard) 40: Managing Songbirds on Lands Large and Small – Maureen Frank, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension wildlife specialist, Uvalde.

-Oct. 10,  Land Management at the Kerr Wildlife Management Area – Ryan Reitz, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologist, Kerr.

Participants are encouraged to register and then book accommodations immediately due to the high demand in Fredericksburg year-round. A list of hotels, recommended items to pack and additional details are available by contacting Grant at 830-774-7591 or Roeder at 830-997-3452.

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