Controlling Backgrounds in Nature Photography

By Joe V. Smith You just returned from a successful photo shoot with perfect pictures of your favorite animal. Everything came together–pleasing subject, great light, excellent composition, perfect exposure, sharp focus and no camera blur. But when you look at your images you see a problem you missed in the field—distracting backgrounds, often so distracting […]

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Community park leads to a conservation spark

By Royce Daniels, Houston Audubon Young Professionals Advisory Council One thing I consistently hear people say is that Houston has no natural beauty. If you are reading this, you probably know that is false, at least for the Greater Houston area which is ecologically rich! But in some underserved communities, not having access to some […]

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Farewell to Houston Bird Week 2021!

By Alex Kneubehl, Bird Week Chair, Young Professionals Advisory Council Another Bird Week has come and gone. Houston Audubon’s third annual Bird Week was another resounding success made possible thanks to our great partner organizations, volunteers, and participants. The third annual Bird Week featured 39 events from 21 different organizations. Collectively, we had almost 2,000 […]

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Book on a Wing

By Sneed B. Collard III When my 13-year-old son Braden and I arrived at High Island in the spring of 2016, we quivered with anticipation. After two years of birding in our home state of Montana, we had finally decided to venture beyond our borders and attempt a modest ABA Big Year for ourselves. Our […]

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An Informal Guide to Creating Bird-Friendly Habitat

✏️ By Chris Bick, Houston Audubon 2021 Young Professionals Advisory Council I wanted to create an informal guide or informational source to creating a backyard habitat using my experience and my yard dimensions as the basis for the guide. These recommendations can be scaled to fit your yard size and restrictions when you create your […]

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Beak of the Week – Pileated Woodpecker

✏️ By Ryan Call, Houston Audubon Young Professionals Advisory Council 2021 Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) Family: Picidae Records show that the Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in North America—the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker and the Imperial Woodpecker were larger but are presumed extinct. An unmistakable, crested, red and black, crow-sized bird, the Pileated Woodpecker makes its […]

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From Prairie to License Plate: Photographing the Eastern Meadowlark

By Alan Murphy, Alan Murphy Photography Every April for the past twenty-five years, I photograph bird migration on the Upper Texas Coast. When I arrive on the coast and drive the back roads looking for birds, the first sounds I always hear is the loud, flutelike song of the Eastern Meadowlark. Although they nest on […]

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Feathers aren’t Forever

By Ryan Call, Houston Audubon 2021 Young Professionals Advisory Council (YPAC) About this time every summer, we receive questions about ridiculous-looking birds: birds with oddly mismatched feathers, birds without feathers, birds that seem bedraggled or undernourished or sickly-looking. For the most part, these birds are perfectly fine! They’re just in the midst of a completely natural […]

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Beak of the Week – Downy Woodpecker

✏️ By Ryan Call, Houston Audubon Young Professionals Advisory Council 2021 Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) Family: Picidae Perhaps the most common woodpecker in North America, the Downy Woodpecker thrives all across the continent: from the tree line in Alaska and Canada to the southernmost forests of California and Florida (Birds of the World). In Houston, […]

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Beak of the Week – Turkey Vulture

✏️ By Ryan Call, Houston Audubon Young Professionals Advisory Council 2021 Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Family: Cathartidae A hardy, adaptive bird, the Turkey Vulture thrives in the Houston area and beyond. It’s a bird you can often see high above the terrain, its wings upswept in a shallow dihedral, the bird rocking back and forth […]

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