We know that Houston is a vital city for birds, but now it’s official. Houston Audubon’s Conservation Team worked tirelessly in partnership with Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD) Natural Resources Program to submit the application, and it paid off. Houston was honored as one of the first four cities to receive the Bird City Texas certification – an inaugural program by Audubon Texas and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
So, what exactly does being a Bird City mean? The big picture is that we have demonstrated that our community cares about birds, habitat, and conservation. The growing popularity of planting native plants, restoring prairies, bird-friendly education programs, and the Houston Lights Out for Birds program to reduce collisions for migrating birds were among the many efforts and programs that got us this designation. (Go Houstonians!)
I personally witnessed the large amount of work that went into this application and was curious about what it entailed specifically. According to Anna Vallery, Houston Audubon Conservation Specialist and one of the people instrumental in submitting the application, “the questions covered bird education, habitat restoration, advocacy, and threat reduction, which we’re proud to say that Houston Audubon programming heavily contributed to. This includes not only what we have done, but plans for expanding over the next three years (which is how long the certification is good for). We had to prove that Houston is doing everything in its power to make our city safe for birds.”
This fantastic news comes on the tail of Houston’s first-ever Bird Week, including a contest to designate the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron the official Bird of Houston, all of which was dreamt up and executed by our 2019 Young Professionals Advisory Council.
So, Houstonians, give yourself a pat on the back. Keep caring about birds, and shout to the world that we’re a Bird City and will keep it that way.
P.S. Mark your calendars for Houston Bird Week 2020 from September 19 – 26.
Learn how you can be bird-friendly by visiting our Bird-Friendly Communities website.
Read about the Bird City Texas certification program.
Read about Bird City in the news:
By Zineera Seth, Houston Audubon, Marketing and Events Manager