Our Wild Texas – July 2022

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Where to Watch Baby Sea Turtle Releases

people watching baby sea turtles run to the Gulf, video link

This summer, make plans to witness one of Texas' most unique wildlife experiences – sea turtle hatchlings making their first run to the sea. 

The world's most endangered sea turtle is the Kemp's ridley, and they lay eggs on Texas beaches. Turtle watchers gather the eggs for their protection. As soon as they hatch, the tiny turtles are brought to the beach and released.

You can see hatchling releases from now through early August at Padre Island National Seashore – call the Hatchling Hotline at 361-949-7163; and at Sea Turtle Inc – they announce releases on social media, including Facebook.

Find out how tequila played a role in the decline of sea turtles in our video Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtle – Saving a Species.

Check Out the Big Bat Shows This Summer

Bats stream out at sunset from Anne W. Richards-Congress Ave. Bridge in Austin, video link

Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, Austin

Nature's biggest summer shows are when bat colonies emerge at twilight to feed on insects. Bat-watching sites have anywhere from hundreds to millions of bats. Some sites are free, some charge an entry fee. These two state parks have big bat shows:

Before you go hang with the bats, watch our short video 10 Bat-Viewing Tips

Build a Bat House + More Bat-Friendly Tips

bats hanging looking at camera, video link

There are 32 different bat species living in Texas. See photos of them all on the bat map (PDF) that shows which bats live in your part of the state.

If you have an unwanted bat roost, watch our video Bats in the building? Here's how to exclude them safely


bat house with link to building instructions

4 ways you can be bat-friendly:

1. Buy or build a bat house. You may want to add a pup catcher

2. Leave dead trees up for bat roosts.

3. Don't use pesticide, bats eat insects. 

4. Keep your cat indoors.


Wild Webinars + Bird City News

Big Bend National Park at sunrise

Check out our free Wildlife Diversity webinar series that focuses on topics benefiting wild things and wild places.

The next topic is Respect Big Bend on 7/22. Join us! Sign up to receive emails on upcoming webinar topics.


Bird City Texas graphic with link

Applications are being accepted for the Bird City Texas program, which certifies communities as leaders in bird-friendly conservation.

Find out more in the magazine story Where Birds Thrive, People Prosper.

Chill-Out Video: Dragonfly or Damselfly?

Damselfly, video link

Watch our short video Postcard From Texas: Dragonflies and Damselflies, and see if you can tell the two apart. Hint: dragonflies rest with their wings open, damselflies with their wings closed.

Roadrunner license plate - coming soon, with link

Tree for Wildlife: the Desert Willow

sphinx moth feeding on desert willow, link

If you'd enjoy a small tree in your landscape that's drought, heat and freeze resistant, as well as a wildlife favorite, consider the desert willow.

This low-maintenance tree has fragrant flowers that bloom all summer, attracting butterflies, hummingbirds and other wildlife. Flower color ranges from pale pink to deep purple. It's native to Central and West Texas, and an excellent choice for areas that don't get a lot of rain; otherwise it needs a well-drained bed. Pro tip: Desert willow blooms on new wood, so prune it regularly for more flowers.

A message from our non-profit partner, Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation:

Black Bears Are Returning to West Texas

Black bear and her cub

For those who appreciate the wild things and wild places of Texas, black bears returning to their native range in West Texas is thrilling news. But their ongoing survival depends on how well humans and bears can co-exist.

The Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) at Sul Ross State University is partnering with Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) to raise funds for BRI’s Human-Black Bear Coexistence project. Outreach and research are critical to help black bears thrive.

TPWF has also partnered with H-E-B, whose Field & Future by H-E-B™  product line provides funding to support this and other conservation projects.

Good News for Monarch Butterflies

Hundreds of monarch butterflies clustering in Mexico wintering ground, link

The monarch population was counted while the butterflies overwintered in Mexico, and their numbers are up from last year. 

There were 10 colonies located during this past winter. They occupied an area of about 2.84 hectares, or 7 acres. This is 35% larger than the area they occupied last winter. Good news, but still a dangerously low number of monarchs.

Biologists estimate the monarch population needs to cover at least 6 hectares, or 15 acres, for a stable population. You can help support monarchs by continuing to avoid pesticide use and grow milkweed, mistflower and other native, pollinator-friendly plants that flower in spring and fall. 

Toyota ad with link

Messages from Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine advertisers:

Baytown Birding Challenge, with link

Visit Moody Gardens, with link

The Our Wild Texas newsletter is made possible in part
by the generous support of Toyota