The Year of the Bird!

In 1918, Congress passed the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, widely regarded as the most comprehensive and essential legislative protection of birds ever passed. The Act makes it illegal to hunt, take, pursue, kill, capture or sell any of the listed migratory birds, which currently includes more than 800 species. National Geographic, celebrating the centennial of this pivotal law, has named 2018 the “Year of the Bird.”

And yet, we might wonder why birds are so important. More specifically, why is regularly counting and recording their numbers worth our time? And why do birds merit protective legislation? Novelist and essayist Jonathan Franzen, a notorious bird-enthusiast, wrote a piece in January to inaugurate National Geographic’s Year of the Bird, intending to answer this same question: Why do birds matter?

He writes about their diversity of appearance and behavior, claiming that “if you could see every bird in the world, you’d see the whole world.” Franzen writes about their amazing capacity to build and to fly. But he notes that birds cannot protect their own environments; they cannot preserve themselves.

Franzen believes that birds matter simply because they are incredible. They are, he writes, “our last, best connection to a natural world that is otherwise receding. They’re the most vivid and widespread representatives of the Earth as it was before people arrived.” This is certainly true. “The house finch outside your window,” Franzen notes,  “is a tiny and beautifully adapted living dinosaur.”

Birds matter because birds are stunning. What more could we need? “In every corner of the globe, in nests as small as walnuts or as large as haystacks, chicks are pecking through their shells and into the light.” This image is beautiful, particularly when written in the prose of an acclaimed writer. So much beauty comes from a hatchling.

But even if we accept that birds are valuable, how are they to be protected? What can we do?

The Audubon Society notes that birds are most threatened by habitat loss. Eleven percent of the world’s current bird species are at risk. But careful bird counting can help combat this loss by providing important research and data to help resource managers make appropriate land management decisions. “Without data counts, calculated habitat preservation becomes much more difficult.”

So this is why we count – because birds are beautiful and cannot count themselves. Much of contemporary social and economic activity is carried out in search of profit. It cannot harm us to dedicate a fraction of that energy to the preservation of beauty, especially when such a task can be accomplished by simply standing amongst the trees and the sunlight, counting the birds.

Join us in sharing your sights, counts and pictures of the birds you see in River Legacy Park.

Written by Josh Ripple, summer intern at River Legacy Living Science Center and student at Stanford University.

 

June Birding Counts in River Legacy!

A huge thanks to Jim Sipiora for providing monthly birding counts in River Legacy Park and River Legacy Park East! Enjoy and let us know what birding sights and sounds you find in River Legacy!

River Legacy Park–Trail east of Collins St., Tarrant, Texas, US
Jun 27, 2018 6:00 AM – 10:10 AM
Protocol: Traveling
4.72 mile(s)
41 species

Canada Goose  54
Mallard  8
Great Blue Heron  3
Great Egret  7
Snowy Egret  3
Little Blue Heron  3
Green Heron  1
Black Vulture  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Mississippi Kite  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Killdeer  5
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  30
Mourning Dove  7
Yellow-billed Cuckoo  2
Barred Owl  1     heard at mi 7 at 0600
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
Downy Woodpecker  4
Eastern Phoebe  2
Great Crested Flycatcher  3
Western Kingbird  6
White-eyed Vireo  5
Blue Jay  4
American Crow  1
Purple Martin  1
Barn Swallow  2
Carolina Chickadee  15
Tufted Titmouse  2
Carolina Wren  13
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2
American Robin  1
Northern Mockingbird  1
Summer Tanager  3
Northern Cardinal  15
Indigo Bunting  1
Painted Bunting  7
Red-winged Blackbird  1
Brown-headed Cowbird  6
Great-tailed Grackle  2
House Finch  1

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S46829061

River Legacy Park, Tarrant, Texas, US
Jun 25, 2018 8:54 AM – 2:46 PM
Protocol: Traveling
4.7 mile(s)
33 species

Great Blue Heron  3
Great Egret  1
Snowy Egret  1
Little Blue Heron  3
Tricolored Heron  1
Green Heron  1
White Ibis  2
Black Vulture  1
Turkey Vulture  4
Broad-winged Hawk  1
Mourning Dove  4
Yellow-billed Cuckoo  2
Black-chinned Hummingbird  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
Downy Woodpecker  3
Eastern Phoebe  3
Western Kingbird  1
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher  2
White-eyed Vireo  10
Red-eyed Vireo  6
Blue Jay  4
Barn Swallow  1
Carolina Chickadee  16
Tufted Titmouse  3
Carolina Wren  13
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  4
Summer Tanager  3
Northern Cardinal  20
Indigo Bunting  5
Painted Bunting  2
Dickcissel  2
Red-winged Blackbird  1
Brown-headed Cowbird  1

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S46791892

River Legacy Park–Trail east of Collins St., Tarrant, Texas, US
Jun 22, 2018 4:42 AM – 10:32 AM
Protocol: Traveling
4.83 mile(s)
35 species

Mallard  22
Great Blue Heron  2
Great Egret  4
Snowy Egret  3
Little Blue Heron  1
Green Heron  2
Turkey Vulture  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Killdeer  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  11
Mourning Dove  2
Yellow-billed Cuckoo  2
Eastern Screech-Owl  1     Heard at 0546 near mi 5.75.  steady trill call.
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
Downy Woodpecker  2
Western Kingbird  3     bird seen at pile of man-made fabrics in the fork of a tree above mi 3.
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher  3
White-eyed Vireo  3
Blue Jay  4
American Crow  4
Barn Swallow  1
Cliff Swallow  4
Carolina Chickadee  12
Tufted Titmouse  6
Carolina Wren  11     carrying nesting material into old cliff swallow nest.
Bewick’s Wren  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2
American Robin  1
Brown Thrasher  3
Summer Tanager  2
Northern Cardinal  11
Indigo Bunting  2
Painted Bunting  7
Great-tailed Grackle  8
House Finch  1

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S46718914

River Legacy Park, Tarrant, Texas, US
Jun 14, 2018 6:01 AM – 11:14 AM
Protocol: Traveling
4.07 mile(s)
32 species

Great Blue Heron  1
Snowy Egret  1
Little Blue Heron  2
Green Heron  1
Black Vulture  1
Turkey Vulture  5
Mississippi Kite  2
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Yellow-billed Cuckoo  4
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
Downy Woodpecker  5
Eastern Phoebe  2
White-eyed Vireo  9
Red-eyed Vireo  3
Blue Jay  4
American Crow  1
Barn Swallow  1
Cliff Swallow  40
Carolina Chickadee  8
Tufted Titmouse  1
Carolina Wren  9
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  5
Summer Tanager  5
Northern Cardinal  20
Blue Grosbeak  1
Indigo Bunting  4
Painted Bunting  4     Immature male had blue head but otherwise all green-no red anywhere.
Dickcissel  2
Red-winged Blackbird  1
Brown-headed Cowbird  4
House Sparrow  1

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S46585543

River Legacy Park–Trail east of Collins St., Tarrant, Texas, US
May 31, 2018 7:00 AM – 9:55 AM
Protocol: Traveling
5.03 mile(s)
32 species

Canada Goose  22
Mallard  21
Great Egret  5
Little Blue Heron  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Red-tailed Hawk  2
Least Tern  1
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  5
Mourning Dove  2
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3
Downy Woodpecker  1
Great Crested Flycatcher  1
Western Kingbird  3
White-eyed Vireo  4
Blue Jay  4
American Crow  2
Barn Swallow  2
Cliff Swallow  10
Carolina Chickadee  11
Tufted Titmouse  2
Carolina Wren  11
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2
American Robin  1
Northern Mockingbird  1
Summer Tanager  1
Northern Cardinal  12
Indigo Bunting  1
Painted Bunting  3
Red-winged Blackbird  2
Brown-headed Cowbird  2
Great-tailed Grackle  3

View this checklist online at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S46241486

Birding Counts in River Legacy – June

Birder and Audubon Member Jim Sipiora shares his bird sightings with us from his bird walks in River Legacy Parks and Village Creek Drying Beds. Check out the birds he sees and then share with us your own bird sightings!

Arlington–River Legacy Pk, Tarrant, Texas, US
Jun 30, 2017 6:39 AM – 11:47 AM
Protocol: Traveling
5.6 mile(s)
33 species

Wood Duck  5
Great Blue Heron  1
Snowy Egret  4
Little Blue Heron  1
Cattle Egret  3
Green Heron  1
White Ibis  1
Turkey Vulture  1
Mourning Dove  3
Yellow-billed Cuckoo  1
Chimney Swift  1
Black-chinned Hummingbird  1
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  5
Downy Woodpecker  3
Eastern Phoebe  2
Western Kingbird  1
White-eyed Vireo  5
Red-eyed Vireo  2
Blue Jay  3
American Crow  4
Cliff Swallow  4
Carolina Chickadee  12
Tufted Titmouse  6
Carolina Wren  14
Bewick’s Wren  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2
Northern Mockingbird  1
Summer Tanager  7
Northern Cardinal  18
Indigo Bunting  3
Painted Bunting  4
Brown-headed Cowbird  7

Arlington–River Legacy Pk trail east of Collins St., Tarrant, Texas, US
Jun 29, 2017 6:06 AM – 10:01 AM
Protocol: Traveling
4.99 mile(s)
40 species

Canada Goose  2
Mallard  2
Great Blue Heron  5
Great Egret  2
Snowy Egret  1
Little Blue Heron  3
Cattle Egret  6
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Killdeer  6
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  100
White-winged Dove  1
Mourning Dove  9
Belted Kingfisher  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  4
Downy Woodpecker  5
American Kestrel  1
Eastern Phoebe  1
Western Kingbird  2
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher  2
White-eyed Vireo  8
Red-eyed Vireo  1
Blue Jay  5
American Crow  2
Purple Martin  2
Barn Swallow  1
Cliff Swallow  6
Carolina Chickadee  13
Tufted Titmouse  1
Carolina Wren  13
Bewick’s Wren  3
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1
Northern Mockingbird  1
Summer Tanager  2
Northern Cardinal  19
Indigo Bunting  2
Painted Bunting  6
Red-winged Blackbird  1
Great-tailed Grackle  8
Brown-headed Cowbird  5
House Finch  5

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37886239

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37886744

Arlington–River Legacy Pk, Tarrant, Texas, US
Jun 26, 2017 6:26 AM – 11:46 AM
Protocol: Traveling
4.53 mile(s)
40 species

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck  5
Mallard  12
Great Blue Heron  1
Great Egret  1
Snowy Egret  1
Little Blue Heron  2
Cattle Egret  4
Green Heron  2
Black Vulture  4
Turkey Vulture  6
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
Swainson’s Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Mourning Dove  4
Yellow-billed Cuckoo  3
Black-chinned Hummingbird  1
Red-bellied Woodpecker  4
Downy Woodpecker  4
Eastern Kingbird  1
White-eyed Vireo  8
Red-eyed Vireo  6
Blue Jay  2
American Crow  1
Barn Swallow  4
Cliff Swallow  12
Carolina Chickadee  13
Tufted Titmouse  8
Carolina Wren  11
Bewick’s Wren  1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  3
Brown Thrasher  3
Summer Tanager  2
Northern Cardinal  23
Indigo Bunting  4
Painted Bunting  5
Dickcissel  2
Red-winged Blackbird  1
Common Grackle  3
Brown-headed Cowbird  4
House Finch  1

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37852210

Arlington–River Legacy Pk, Tarrant, Texas, US
Jun 15, 2017 6:32 AM – 12:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
4.9 mile(s)
40 species

Mallard  8
Great Blue Heron  2
Great Egret  3
Snowy Egret  2
Little Blue Heron  1
Green Heron  2
Black Vulture  1
Mississippi Kite  1
Red-shouldered Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
White-winged Dove  2
Mourning Dove  3
Yellow-billed Cuckoo  1
Black-chinned Hummingbird  1
Belted Kingfisher  2
Red-bellied Woodpecker  4
Downy Woodpecker  5
Eastern Phoebe  2
Great Crested Flycatcher  1
White-eyed Vireo  8
Red-eyed Vireo  2
Blue Jay  5
American Crow  1
Barn Swallow  4
Cliff Swallow  3
Carolina Chickadee  13
Tufted Titmouse  2
Carolina Wren  11
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  2
Brown Thrasher  1
Northern Mockingbird  1
Summer Tanager  3
Northern Cardinal  23
Indigo Bunting  2
Painted Bunting  3
Dickcissel  3
Red-winged Blackbird  2
Brown-headed Cowbird  3
House Finch  3
House Sparrow  1

View this checklist online at http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37622890