Nature

Bird Watching in The Texas Hill Country

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Bird Watching in The Texas Hill Country

By Ronnie Ratliff

Bird watching has become an increasingly popular recreational and social activity. The hobby satisfies many desires of outdoor enthusiast. Birds are beautiful and many have plumages that are appealing to the eyes. Their songs vary from species to species and are a treat to the ear. Birds also have a complex behavior, including feeding routines, mating dances, and their behavior is intriguing to observe.

Birds appear almost everywhere and the Texas Hill Country is flocked with many species. They are active both day and night which increases viewing opportuni­ties. Birding can be done with the naked eye, or with the use of a visual enhancement device like telescopes, bin­oculars, or spotting lenses. Bird watching often involves an auditory component as well. Often, bird species are more easily detected by ear.

Birding can be simple or complex, depending on the persons preference. The hobby takes place outside bal­cony windows, in backyards, or while traveling to exotic locations. Bird watching is also a hobby you can do while enjoying other outdoor activities such as: walking, gardening, watching the kids in the park, fishing, hunt­ing, and so on. Observing the playful activities of birds in your surrounding area can definitely brighten up the day. Slow down and take time to view the birds of the Texas Hill Country this summer.

Here is a list of birds to keep an eye out for this summer:

Vermilion Flycatcher

Bird Watching in The Texas Hill Country

Photo by Dan Pancamo

The Vermilion Flycatcher is a small bird in the Tyrannidae family. Most flycatchers are rather drab in color, but the Vermilion Flycatcher is an excep­tion, making it a favorite with birders. They prefer open areas and are found in trees or shrubs usually near water. The flycatchers feed mostly on insects such as flies, and grasshoppers. The species grows to about 7 inches in length. The males are have a crown, lower face, and underparts that are bril­liant scarlet or vermilion in color. Upperparts, nape, and the mask through the eye are blackish brown. The wings and tail are dark blackish brown. Outer tail feathers may be edged with white. They usually have a narrow white tip on their tail. Females have upperparts that are grayish brown. Their underparts are white near the throat, be­coming pale salmon or orange-ish under the tail. Breast, sides, and flanks are streaked with grayish brown. Fe­males also have a dull white eyebrow stripe and gray lines through the eyes. The wings and tail are dark grayish brown. Some may have a few pinkish red feathers on the crown or breast.

Painted Bunting

Bird Watching in The Texas Hill Country
Photo by Dan Pancamo

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