Our Wild Texas – January 2020

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Our Wild Texas
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Be on the Lookout for Bald Eagles

bald eagle, video link

Our resident bald eagles are joined by eagle migrants from January to March, making it the perfect time to go bald eagle watching. It's also nesting season, when the eagles are very active. 

To find areas with bald eagles, check the Texas Nature Trackers Texas Eagle Nests project map. If you spot an eagle nest, photograph it. Then join Texas Nature Trackers and add your photo to the project – it helps biologists track them. We also post eagle sightings on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. Insider tip: Fairfield Lake State Park usually has bald eagles. 

The bald eagle was declared endangered in 1966. Assisted by conservation laws and a ban on the pesticide DDT, it was taken off the endangered species list in 2007. Today, your Texas Game Wardens work to protect eagles from poaching and poisoning and recently assisted in the rescue of an injured bald eagle

Backyard Bobcats & Coyotes

bobcat, video link

Bobcats have adapted well to living around towns and large urban areas, like Dallas-Ft. Worth. They're nocturnal and avoid people, so these wild cats are rarely seen. But it's not a bad thing to have them as neighbors, because bobcats help keep rats and mice in check, yet aren't considered a threat to cats and dogs.

Don't encourage bobcats or other wildlife to come close to your home by leaving food, especially pet food, outside. Our wildlife biologists have more tips for keeping wildlife at a safe distance in the video, Keeping Wildlife Wild.

coyote, video link

Coyotes live all around us, even in cities. They are permanent residents but should be avoided. Discourage nuisance coyotes with these tips:

  • Do not leave food outside.
  • Do not supply a source of water.
  • Keep pets on a 4-6 ft. leash or monitored when outside.

If a coyote gets too close for comfort, do not run or turn your back – look it in the eye, yell and wave your arms. For more information on how to deal with urban nuisance coyotes, contact your local Urban Biologist.

Be a Wild Valentine – Volunteer to Help Wildlife

female volunteer holding snake, video link

Show your love for wildlife in a real way – volunteer to work with us on a project that supports wildlife. Volunteers of all ages, fitness levels and interests come to us – all you need is a desire to help. 

Volunteer as a family to give your child a unique experience and build the habit of community engagement. Kids must be 16 or older to volunteer without parental permission, but all ages can participate in many projects as part of a family group. 

Volunteer rescuing cold-stunned sea turtle

Choose from the many wildlife-related projects on our current Wildlife & Community Science volunteering opportunities list.

If you'd like to dive more deeply into volunteering, consider becoming a Texas Master Naturalist. This program offers training and certification, preparing you for leadership roles in local natural resource conservation efforts. Look for a chapter near you.

3 Ways to Get Animals Out of Your Attic

raccoon on trash can

It's that time of year when raccoons or squirrels may take up residence in your attic. Here are 3 things you can do to persuade them to leave: 

  1. Put lights with high wattage bulbs in the attic, and leave them on for 3 nights.
  2. Soak rags in ammonia OR vinegar, and scatter them in the attic.
  3. Put a radio in the attic, and play loud music for at least a few hours day and night.

It's very possible your attic resident is there to have babies. Once you're sure the animal and its young have moved out, close up their attic entry holes. If you don't, another animal will move in. Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition has more tips for dealing with attic animals.

Join the Birding Classic with link

Bird Live Cams & a Special Event

jays on feeder, video link

While our migrating hummingbirds are wintering in sunny places farther south, the West Texas Hummingbird Cam feeders are switched to suet and seed feeders. The cam stays on, so take the opportunity to observe the variety of birds in West Texas, including the Woodhouse's scrub-jay (formerly the Western scrub-jay), seen in the picture.  

Austin's resident peregrine falcon has a live cam on her nest box, which she frequents from February through early summer. This falcon typically lays 3 or more eggs in early March. Watch to see if they hatch this year!

Now's the time to sign up for the Great Texas Birding Classic, the biggest, wildest birdwatching tournament in the U.S.A. Gather your team, register, go birding and have fun – it's  that simple! Registration closes April 1, and registration fees go to conservation projects chosen by the winners. 

Did You Know?

Texas Pterosaur is the largest known flying animal to have ever lived, and its fossil was found in Big Bend. More proof that everything’s bigger in Texas!

Thanks to the following sponsors and partners:

Nature Rocks