April Bird Forecast

April 5th, 2013 at 2:30 pm by under Weather

What to Watch For in April

 Chimney Swifts and Green Herons

 Here is the Central Texas bird forecast for the month of April, courtesy of Travis Audubon. Learn more about Central Texas birds and bird-related events for all ages at www.travisaudubon.org or call 512-300-BIRD. Travis Audubon can be followed at Twitter@TravisAudubon or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/travisaudubon.

Chimney Swifts bring their aerial antics

Chimney Swift - Photo by Jim DeVries

Chimney Swift – Photo by Jim DeVries

One sign that April has arrived is the appearance of these cigar-shaped birds known for quick, erratic movements in flight. Nicknamed for their cylinder shape, Chimney Swifts stay airborne most of the day searching for insects.

Interestingly, they are unable to perch on a branch as most songbirds do. Instead they spend the night clinging to vertical walls in enclosed areas, such as chimneys, airshafts or vacant buildings. The birds have had to adapt to manmade structures after the loss of forests and large hollow trees. This spring, listen for their high-pitched rapid chipping and look skyward. They migrated all the way from the upper Amazon.

Green Herons at the top of their class

Green Heron - Photo by James A. Giroux

Green Heron – Photo by James A. Giroux

Talk about patience. This small stocky wading bird could teach us all a lesson. Green Herons hang out in wetland areas, standing absolutely motionless as they wait for small fish to venture within striking range. Their fishing technique is ingenious. They use bait, such as an insect, twig or feather, placed on the water’s surface to lure a fish into range. This makes the Green Heron one of the few birds to use tools.

These birds have long pointed bills and long yellowish legs. The neck is often pulled in next to the body. Typically active at night, Green Herons are best seen at dawn or dusk. Try Lady Bird Lake, where Waller Creek flows into the lake or at Lou Neff Point.

Upcoming Events

Travis Audubon April Meeting:

“Collecting Ornithological Books: A Personal Odyssey”

Thursday, April 18 (doors open 6:30 p.m.) at First Presbyterian Church, 8001 Mesa Dr.

Dr. Richard L. Soffer of Washington, D.C., will talk about ornithological books and his personal collection. After retiring from a distinguished medical research career, Soffer has been devoted to watching birds around the world and collecting books about them. He amassed an estimated 1,500 books, which were donated to Amherst College to create the Richard L. Soffer Ornithology Collection. Much like Antiques Roadshow, Soffer will assess “old bird books” that members and guests bring to the meeting, time permitting.

Baker Sanctuary Open House

Join Travis Audubon on Saturday, April 13, from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Normally closed to the public, the Baker Sanctuary nature preserve will be open one day only for this free family event. Take this opportunity to see a Golden-cheeked Warbler. Go to http://travisaudubon.org/events.

 Travis Audubon Field Trips (beginning birders welcome)

Since April is the peak of bird migration, not all field trips are listed here. For more information, see http://travisaudubon.org/get-outdoors/field-trips.

Beginners’ Bird Walk at McKinney Falls State Park

Saturday, April 6; 8 to 10am

Laguna Gloria with Sam Fason

Saturday, April 6; 8:45 to 10:45am

Commons Ford Prairie: Big Day in the Park

Sunday, April 7; Activities from 8 am to 4 pm

Love Creek Preserve: Golden-cheeked Warblers & Black-capped Vireos

Sunday, April 14; 7 to 11:30am

Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

Sunday, April 14; 7:15 to 11:30am

Copperfield Nature Trails

Sunday, April 14; 7 to 11:30am

Hornsby Bend Monthly Bird Walk

Saturday, April 20; 7:30 to 11am

Compiled by Travis Audubon volunteers Jorjanna Price and Jane Tillman

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