The Quick Fix
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Oct 24, 2010 | 3:16 pm
IS THAT A WARBLER?
Calling all Houston ornithophiles: It's time to bust out the field guides and binoculars. Houston was just given the bronze medal in a new national ranking of the best cities for birdwatching, and during Great Outdoors Month no less.
The 2023 report by Lawn Love ranked Houston highly based on the popularity of the activity in the city, and its conservation efforts. The Houston Audubon owns 17 nature sanctuaries throughout the area, with combined land sprawling over 4,100 acres.
The city also earned high regard for its annual feathered festivity, Houston Bird Week. This year's events will take place from September 23-30, with the Audubon and local conservationists collaborating to provide Houstonians with fun birding experiences, parties, trivia, and more.
"Houston Audubon aims to inspire a culture of conservation and a way of life that allows us to thrive in harmony with nature," the strategic plan on their website states. "Our vision is the creation of a healthier, more beautiful place to live by leading and nurturing a community that values and supports birds."
Lawn Love's report analyzed 14 different metrics to rank 200 of the largest U.S. cities, including number of Audubon centers, wildlife refuges, bird species, birdwatching groups, festivals, organizations, and more.
The only cities to outrank Houston were New York City (No. 1) and San Diego (No. 2). Austin (No. 9) was the only other Texas city to make the top 10, and Houston's neighbor Pasadena ranked No. 88.
The top 10 American cities for birdwatching are:
Dr. Dustin Reichard, an assistant professor of biological sciences at Ohio Wesleyan University, provided three tips for beginner birdwatchers in the report. He suggested tagging along with the local Audubon society for those first few birding trips, getting to know the basic birds around the area first, and always remember that it gets easier to identify birds over time with practice.
"It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of bird species and give up on trying to learn to identify them," Dr. Reichard said. "You will learn which birds to expect in different habitats and that will narrow the list of possible species substantially. Also, remember point one: go out with someone experienced who can help you with these identifications initially."
The full report and its methodology can be found on lawnlove.com.