Monday, February 11, 2013

Birds of Bay Oaks

On Monday January 14th we performed our second bird survey on the golf course and grounds.  In addition to the wonderful member help we have received  I got hooked up with two gentlemen from the Attwater Praire Chicken Refuge ( who are very knowledgeable about birds and who have been extremely helpful in getting the survey's done.  Taken from Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge (APCNWR), located approximately 60 miles west of Houston, Texas, is one of the largest remnants of coastal prairie habitat remaining in southeast Texas and home to one of the last populations of the critically endangered Attwater’s prairie chicken, a ground-dwelling grouse of the coastal prairie ecosystem. The refuge is one of a handful of national wildlife refuges managed specifically for an endangered species (  

Our area of Texas has one of the most diverse bird populations in the world.  Our coastal location along the central migratory flyway makes this a prime location to see birds of many species.  Counting the two surveys we have performed roughly 90 species of birds have been identified on the Bay Oaks Country Club property.  One of the birds in particular was a Golden-crowned Kinglet.  The gentlemen who spotted the bird in the front entrance of the club is a Past President of the Houston Audubon Society and an avid birder with years of experience.  The Golden-crowned Kinglet he  spotted in the club entrance is the first one he has spotted in Harris County.  That is special.  Here are some highlights of the Golden-crowned Kinglet.
Golden-crowned Kinglet Photo
© Kelly Azar
The Golden-crowned Kinglet is an extremely active tiny bird, barely larger than a hummingbird, which gets its name from the yellow stripe surrounded by black on its head.  It's migrates from Alaska and Canada where it breeds in the summer to Texas and Northern Mexico during the winter.  They breed in spruce and fir forests and feed on insects.  An interesting fact about the bird is that the female only feeds its young through their first day leaving the nest then she starts laying her second set of eggs.  The male Kinglet takes over feeding duties of the first brood, which may contain 8 or 9 young.

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