By Carol Jones
All you have to do to have birds around, whether it’s your backyard, a wildlife refuge, a park or a golf course, is to provide habitat that meets the requirements of animals – food, shelter, and water. The higher quality the habitat, the more birds are possible. Birds that use ponds and wetlands and forests with native understory amongst the towering oaks, ash and elm as well as birds that use open spaces and grassy areas can all be heard and often seen during a day of golf at The Wilderness in Lake Jackson.
There are Eastern Bluebirds year round and an abundance of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. It is so fun to see these large orange-legged birds sitting in the trees! Flycatchers like Vermillion, Eastern Phoebe, and Great Crested are pretty common. Various herons, egrets and gallinules are in the numerous water features. Carolina Wrens nest in the corners of structures along with Barn Swallows. You might see a secretive Green Heron skulking in the reeds along the shore. Red Shouldered and Red-tailed hawks can be heard and seen. A Crested Caracara or Bald Eagle fly over is possible. (We have been seeing Bald Eagles fly over regularly here at GCBO.) During this time of year the Barred Owls are more vocal as their breeding season is approaching so they may even be heard during the day. Big bottomland forest along a river is prime Barred Owl habitat along with many other bird species.
The Gulf Coast Bird Observatory has a few members that are golfers and these folks often keep lists of the birds they see during their golf outings. We even have one member that is on a quest to find the birdiest golf course. Combining hobbies can be both fun and challenging so why not pursue more than one at a time? In March GCBO is going to host our second golf tournament fund raiser entitled ‘Birdies for the Birds’. We are actively pursuing sponsors and golfers so if you would like more information please call us or go to www.gcbo.org and click on the Birdies for the Birds icon. The golf tournament is scheduled for Monday, March 24, at The Wilderness here in Lake Jackson and will be a four team member scramble. There will be a prize for the golfer who also identifies the most birds during the tournament. Who knows, maybe we have the birdiest golf course right here in our backyard.