Birding enthusiasts of all skill levels are invited to attend Borderlands Birding Bonanza events in West Texas on Nov. 14 and Nov. 15. The birding field trips will take place at the Dixon Water Foundation’s Mimms Ranch near Marfa. Registration is required and participants can sign up at https://bri.sulross.edu/events/.

The Borderlands Research Institute (BRI) at Sul Ross State University launched the new series of outreach activities in October to connect people with birds through its Bird Conservation Program. The first event, held Oct. 24-25 at Alamito Creek Preserve in Presidio County, attracted 40 birders from El Paso to East Texas.

“A good time was had by all and it was great to see people connecting with birds and nature,” said Dr. Louis Harveson, who is the Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., BRI Endowed Director and Regents’ Professor of Wildlife Management at Sul Ross State University. “We are excited about these new outreach opportunities, and we are extremely grateful to the Dixon Water Foundation and the Shield-Ayres Foundation for making these events possible.”

The October events were led by knowledgeable birders, including BRI graduate students Alex Chavez and Emily Card, local birding experts, and staff of the Dixon Water Foundation.

“We saw a lot of cool birds, including an American kestrel, western bluebirds and Lincoln’s sparrows,” said BRI graduate student Emily Card. “We all got very excited when we spotted an eastern sub-species of the northern flicker, because that’s a rare sighting around here.”

The goal of BRI’s Bird Conservation Program is to advance the awareness, appreciation, and conservation of birds in West Texas. With over 500 bird species in the region, it is no wonder that West Texas is a favorite destination among birders. Birding is also one of the main outdoor recreational activities from which landowners can derive substantial income, and BRI is working with private landowners to learn more about the bird species in West Texas.

Besides the field trips associated with the Borderlands Birding Bonanza, BRI’s Bird Conservation Program will be implementing a number of new initiatives to engage citizens in bird conservation. Upcoming activities will include bird photography workshops and educational seminars. In addition, a citizen science project will be developed that will document bird populations on private ranches through long-term monitoring efforts.

Register for the Nov. 14 and Nov. 15 birding field trips at  https://bri.sulross.edu/events/