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April 18, 2005
Texans Urged To Help Track Hummingbirds
AUSTIN, Texas — For many Texans, the unique opportunity to view some of the 18 species of hummingbirds found in Texas is only as far away as the backyard. Now, experts are asking backyard birders to join a citizen effort to study hummers, plus offering tips to attract the tiny birds.
During the spring and summer months, the hummingbirds’ nesting season, many Texans put feeders in the yard to attract birds. For those friends of the hummingbird, that time of year is here.
“Everyone loves hummingbirds,” said Mark Klym, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Texas Hummingbird Roundup coordinator. “The best way to see more of them is to develop a habitat in your own garden.”
Texans wanting to help the hummingbirds out can provide food through plants and insects, shelter consisting of a thick growth of native brush or trees, and reliable drinking and bathing water.
Although most Texans choose to feed the birds during the nesting season and the fall migration season, many of the birds can be found here year-round.
“There is no reason to ever take a feeder down in Texas,” Klym said. “If you decide not to feed through the winter months though, you need to have the feeders back in place by mid- to late February.”
This winter, multiple species were documented in many different locations throughout the state. Seven species were sighted in Houston between November and February, the most in the state, and both Austin and San Antonio each recorded six species.
As neighbors to more species of the hummingbird than any other state, Texans have the opportunity to help study the dainty birds. Texas Hummingbird Roundup allows residents to assist TPWD study the birds’ feeding patterns, behavior, range and distribution.
The program provides participants with a kit that includes a survey form and “A Quick Reference Guide to Texas Hummingbirds” booklet, with information on Texas’ species of hummingbird, how to clean and maintain feeders, and suggestions on additional plants for the garden.
For more information about the Texas Hummingbird Roundup, call (512) 389-4644 or visit the Web site.
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