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GCBO June e-news
Gulf Coast Bird Observatory

June, 2014




In this Issue:


Avian Conservation Science Center Nears Completion


Did You Find a Baby Bird?


Dow Black Skimmer Day


Mexico Site Partner Launches New Conservation Toursim Effort


Bird Camp


Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO


Member Photo of the Month


If you found this e-newsletter interesting, please consider taking the next step and becoming a member or volunteering for one of our many outreach activities.  If you are already a member, thank you for your support!  Check out our Ways to Donatepage for more opportunities to support our conservation efforts. 


Photos courtesy of Mike Gray and GCBO staff.
View on GCBO website. 

June 2014


Our New Center Nears Completion - Please Help

Construction of the Avian Conservation Science Center is on track for completion this summer, but because of some unexpected budget increases we must quickly raise an additional $38,000 before the end of June so construction remain on track to be completed by the end of July. The budget has grown by about $160,000 since construction began, mainly due to fire department requirements including running a 6" water line about 1/4 mile, installing a fire hydrant, and widening our road to allow fire trucks to enter. These costs were not covered by the original budget!

We approached a major foundation to see if they could assist with this shortfall, and they offered a dollar for dollar challenge match up to $80,000. Our Board of Directors and a few other close members have put up more than $42,000 of the required match already, but we are still short the rest ($38,000). We are asking all our friends to encourage those who can help to go online and make a donation to the New Building Fund. Any amount you give will be matched 1:1 by the challenge grant and we will REALLY appreciate your support. The New Building Fund is the first option under program selections on the Just Givepage. If you would prefer to mail a check that is fine too. Just send it to GCBO, 103 Hwy 332 West, Lake Jackson, TX 77566 and note on it that is for the building fund.

Did You Find a Baby Bird?

We get a lot of calls this time of year from people who have found baby birds that they think need rescuing. If you find a baby bird on the ground all is not lost. If it is fully feathered, chances are good that it's a young fledging that is learning to fly. The parents are no doubt nearby watching and keeping it safe. If you feel it's in danger, move it a safer place where there is cover but it's best to leave it there and let the parents care for it. If it is not fully feathered then it needs to be back in the nest. If you can safely put it back in the nest, then do so. The parents will not abandon it because you touched it. If you can't put it back in the nest then you need to get the bird to a licensed wildlife rehabilator. You can find rehabilitor's in Texas here. If you live in another state, put your state name followed by wildlife rehabilitator in your favorite search engine and you will find what you need. If you live in southern Brazoria County you can contact our local rehabilitators at the Gulf Coast Wildlife Rescue. Their number is 979-849-0184. The hotline is monitored 24 hours a day and someone will get back to you quickly. Put the bird in box and keep the lid closed so it will feel safe. Remember, and this is VERY important, do not attempt to feed or give liquid to a baby bird without being instructed to do so by a rehabilitator.



Dow Black Skimmer Day

This year Dow Texas Operations will hold their annual Skimmer Day on Saturday, June 28th from 9:00am to noon. This free public event provides a rare opportunity to view one of the largest nesting colonies of Black Skimmers on the Texas Gulf Coast. Black Skimmers are considered colonial waterbirds because they nest in large colonies, usually on bay islands. These unique birds have a lower mandible longer than the upper which enables them to employ a unique feeding style. They feed by flying low over the water, opening their bills and skimming the water with their lower mandible to catch small fish. According to colonial waterbird data, Black Skimmers have declined on the Texas coast by 70% in the last 40 years so this colony at Dow is of increasing importance. Meet at the Dow A-41 gate located on FM 523 which is 1 mile south of the Hwy 332 and FM 523 intersection for shuttles to the site.


Mexico Site Partner Launches New Conservation Tourism Effort

Amigos de Sian Ka'an, a GCBO Site Partner since 1999 announces the recent launch of Maya Ka'an, the new ecotourism destination of Quintana Roo, and the first of its kind in Mexico. Maya Ka'an is designed to facilitate the conservation of Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, while promoting the sustainable development of local communities of central Quintana Roo. Maya Ka'an improves the commercial viability of local ecotourism projects already operating, and represents a model to demonstrate that low-density, nature, and culture oriented tourism is a real alternative of environmental friendly development. Maya Ka'an diversifies Quintana Roo's tourism options and offers a unique experience to the rest of Mexico and the World. Be sure to watch Maya Ka'an on youtube and plan your next Mexico trip with conservation in mind.


Bird Camp

This month, GCBO will be hosting our annual day camp for 8-11 year olds. The camp will be held June 9-13 from 9:00 in the morning to 1:00 each day. The campers will engage in a variety of activities as we learn about our feathered friends. Each year we have repeat attendees because they had such a great time and did not want the week to end. So sign up your kids, friend's kids, grandkids, nieces, and nephews, and they will thank you for it. Please call GCBO and we will e-mail the forms to you. Our camp is limited in number of attendees because we want each camper to get lots of individual attention, so don't delay!

Monthly Bird Banding at GCBO

Summer is here but that doesn't mean the birds aren't active. We will be catching young of the year like these Carolina Wrens for the next several months which is always exciting. Come join us from 8:00 til noon on Saturday, June 21st for our monthly bird banding session. Remember birds wake up at dawn so your best chance to see the most birds is early. Seeing birds in the hand is a great way to get kids excited about wildlife, but all ages are welcome. See the map on our webpage for directions or find a map by going to Mapquest or GoogleMaps.  Note that some other navigators will not take you to the correct location.

Photo of the Month


photo comes to us from Katrina Miesch. On a sailboast trip across the Gulf of Mexico, a Sora landed on the boat apparently for a rest. They discovered it one morning when they were at least 150 miles offshore and 300 miles from Houston. It stayed with them for four days until they were 40-50 miles from Key West at which point it took off and headed for land. They set up a water bowl for it to bath and stand in and it fed on grapes, mandarin oranges, crackers and bread while they were underway! 

Bird Tip of the Month: In the hot summer months birds are in particular need of fresh water. You can rig up a homemade water drip by using a gallon jug with a small hole punched in the bottom. Fill it up, hang it from a tree, and put a small pan underneath to collect the water. The dripping noise will attract the birds and give them a place for a bath and a nice cool drink.

Our Vision is a healthy ecosystem with abundant space for birds to survive and thrive around the Gulf of Mexico. | Telephone 979-480-0999 | Contact Us


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