Birds

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Walls . They can shelter us. They can divide us. But can a wall itself become an object of curiosity? Well, one wall on the campus of UT Austin has done just that .

A “Big Year” is a tradition in birdwatching when a birder tries to spot as many bird species as they can over the course of a year in a certain place. It’s an intensely personal thing, when a man or woman travels to far-flung locales just to check another bird off their list. But this year, some Travis County birders put a new, more social spin on the tradition.

Terrence Henry/KUT

Austin’s well-known as the Live Music Capital of the World, but it’s also becoming known as a place that’s running out of room. There's one neighborhood in town where old-time residents are probably going to be moved out in order to make way for new development. And it’s ruffling some feathers. We're talking, of course, about monk parakeets. In particular, the two hundred of them that live at the University of Texas at Austin Whitaker Intramural Fields, in Central Austin on Guadalupe. Head there at dusk, and you'll see not just soccer or lacrosse scrimmages, but you'll see hundreds, if not thousands, of birds. And the most colorful and charismatic of them are the monk parakeets. But soon they're likely going to have to move out of their longtime home.

The annual Austin Christmas bird count is happening this Saturday, when bird enthusiasts, or birders, take a census of what birds they can spot across the entire Austin area. So far, 2014 has already been an unusual year for bird sightings in Texas. Three species of birds never seen in the state before were spotted this year in Texas. Those were a red-legged honeycreeper, a gray-crowned rosy-finch and a pair of common cranes – which, as the name might suggest, are indeed common, but they’re...

Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

From StateImpact Texas : Over three hundred species of birds are at risk from climate change in North America, according to a report from the National Audubon Society. Many of them can be found in Texas. Brian Trusty, Executive Director of Audubon Texas, says the study has identified over one hundred Texas species that run the risk of losing significant habitat due to climate change (see below for details on this list).

flickr.com/annharkness

Half a million Purple Martins have been migrating through Austin as they make their way to Brazil for the winter. Austin – and specifically Highland Mall ­– is a way station for the birds and their young, letting them fatten up before the long trek south. And the swirl of purple and blue has become a popular spectacle – one that some audiences say rivals Austin’s popular bat departure from the Congress Avenue bridge.