Beauty on the Wing
Hays County is home to a great multitude of bird species. Situated on the Central Flyway and existing in both the Edwards Plateau and Blackland Prairie eco-regions, Hays County has recorded over 300 species of birds. So fear not, whether you are watching them from your backyard or venturing into a natural area, you’re bound to sight birds of many shapes, size, and color.
To help establish a greater variety of species on your own land, bird feeders can be placed just about anywhere and are quite enticing to visitors. The most basic and universal bird seed to provide for them is black-oil sunflower seeds which will be enjoyed by most passerines (perching birds). More specific foods are sugar water for hummingbirds, suet for woodpeckers and nuthatches, and millet or nyjer (thistle) seed for finches and pine siskins. Each food is best used with special types of feeders.
Installing bird houses can also be a rewarding project. Wrens will take advantage of just about any type of cavity, while Eastern Bluebirds, Purple Martins, and owls have more demanding requirements. Be aware that nonnative House Sparrows and European Starlings are keen on taking over bird boxes.
While birding at home is calming and enjoyable, birding in the wilds can offer exciting new observations and often rare bird sightings. There are countless parks and preserves throughout the County to find feathered friends, and some are more rewarding than others. If you’re looking for specific types of birds, learn what kind of habitat and season they prefer. For instance, to see ducks, visit ponds and wetlands during the winter and Golden-cheeked Warblers are found nesting in Ashe-Juniper/Live Oak forests from March to June.
Birding Hot Spots
- Spring Lake ( San Marcos)
- Camp Ben McCulloch (Driftwood)
- Plum Creek Reservoir (Soil Conservation Site 1 Reservoir, Kyle)
- John Stokes Park (San Marcos)
- Lake Kyle (Kyle)
- Stagecoach Park (Buda)
- Blue Hole Regional Park (Wimberley)
- Charro Ranch Park (Dripping Springs)