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Newborn Added to Caprock Canyons State Park Bison Herd PDF Print E-mail
Written by Texas Outdoors   
Sunday, 30 March 2014 14:40

Newborn Added to Caprock Canyons State Park Bison Herd

QUITAQUE — The first of what is expected to be a healthy crop of baby bison was born recently and up to 25 more of the shaggy critters will likely join the historic herd at Caprock Canyons State Park this spring.

The growing bison herd, which now numbers 85, has almost doubled visitation to the sprawling Texas Panhandle park, where the Western icon can be viewed up close, according to Superintendent Donald Beard, who hopes to expand the bison range to all but 2,500 of its 15,000 acres later this year.

“We’ve seen our annual visitation increase from 38,000 in FY 2012 when the bison were released to roam more freely in the upland portion of the park to 68,000 last year,” Beard says. “Visitation is already up 10 percent this year compared to the same time last year.”

In the fall of 2011, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department released the state bison herd from a 300-acre area of Caprock Canyons State Park to roam more than 700 acres of restored native grass prairie near the Visitor Center and Theo Lake.

TPWD has been raising funds for additional fencing, mesquite eradication and prairie restoration the past couple of years by sponsoring public events at the park and in nearby Quitaque, including a music festival headlined by Asleep at the Wheel.

The Caprock Canyons bison descend from the legendary Charles Goodnight herd that saved the Southern bison from extinction in the 19th century and supplied wild stock for Yellowstone National Park and some of the nation’s largest zoos and ranches.

Caprock Canyons State Park is located about 50 miles northeast of Plainview on FM 1065 approximately 4 miles north of State Highway 86. For more information, call (806) 455-1492 or visit the TPWD Website.

 
Enjoy Birding in a Texas State Park PDF Print E-mail
Written by Texas Outdoors   
Sunday, 30 March 2014 14:38

Enjoy Birding in a Texas State Park

 

Summer TanagerDid you know that birding is the most popular sport in the United States? Over 51 million people bird-watch in their backyards, state parks and even at birding competitions! April is a great time to get outdoors with your family, and birding is an activity the whole family can enjoy — even while hiking, biking or picnicking.

Texas has over 630 species of birds (second most species next to California), and Texas state parks are some of the best places to view birds in their native habitat. And many parks host guided bird walks, workshops and other birding events. Visit the calendar to find a birding event near you.

Before you head out, share this "Introduction to Birdwatching" PDF with your family to learn what to look and listen for. You can also download a colorful PDF called "Texas Birds: Introducing Texans to Common Birds" to take with you. And watching this month’s featured video, "Basics of Birding," will give you an overview of what you should bring and what you can expect on your family birding adventure.

Photo: Summer Tanager

 
Best Birding Blinds at State Parks PDF Print E-mail
Written by Texas Outdoors   
Sunday, 30 March 2014 14:33

Best Birding Blinds at State Parks

From observation platforms to enclosed shelters and traditional birding blinds, these parks offer optimal perches to experience some of the best birding in Texas.

Austin Area

DFW Area

Houston and Gulf Coast Area

San Antonio Area

South Texas Plains Area

 

Last Updated on Sunday, 30 March 2014 14:36
 
Best Time to Bird in Parks is Now PDF Print E-mail
Written by Texas Outdoors   
Sunday, 16 March 2014 12:34

Best Time to Bird in Parks is Now

adult pointing, child looking through binocularsIt begins now − the majestic northward migration of hundreds of bird species heading to their summer homes. Grab a pair of binoculars and you’re in business. Optional helpful items: a field guide (you can also look up birds you see on web sites such as Cornell’s All About Birds or a mobile birding app), and an interested friend or two. Here are three ways to bird in state parks:

  • Wing it – Visit a state park with a birding checklist and see what you can find. Make it part of a picnic or hike.
  • Attend a state park birding event – Check the Birding Events Calendar to learn where and when you can bird with a group or a park ranger.
  • Enter the Great Texas Birding ClassicThe State Park category is open to all ages of park visitors, as well as park employees. Teams of 3-5 birders select a state park to bird from and a date that fits their schedule during the Birding Classic tournament from April 15-May 15. Teams spend a single day in the park identifying as many birds as possible. The team that IDs the most species wins and gets to select a project that will receive a conservation grant. The Registration deadline for participating teams (all fees and forms are due) is April 1. Watch a video to see what it's all about.

Birding builds an appetite so don’t forget snacks or a picnic.

 
Horned Toad Cook-off at Copper Breaks PDF Print E-mail
Written by Texas Outdoors   
Sunday, 16 March 2014 12:33

Horned Toad Cook-off at Copper Breaks

horned lizard close-upNow that we’ve got your attention − make that Barbecue cook-off, honoring Texas’ iconic and threatened horned lizard. Head out April 25-26 to Copper Breaks State Park, northwest of Wichita Falls. This annual cook-off caters to Texans’ obsession with BBQ and our love of the state’s beloved little toad. No horned lizards will be harmed at the event, but some will be in attendance. Watch this park video to find out what else there is to enjoy in the park.

Show up to learn more about our favorite lizard and eat some 'cue, or enter the cook-off which is sanctioned by the Lone Star Barbeque Society.

 
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