Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Audubon Texas has designated the City of Bastrop, Texas as one of four Bird City Texas certified communities through 2022. The other three are Dallas, Houston and Port Aransas to receive this inaugural designation.
“We’re excited to join Audubon Texas in recognizing these four communities for the incredible work that they’ve done for birds, wildlife habitat, and connecting people with nature,” said TPWD Urban Wildlife Program Leader Richard Heilbrun. “It’s not easy to become a Bird City Texas community; it takes dedication and vision. We are confident that their accomplishments will lead to stronger, more resilient communities for people and birds.”
“We are so proud to be one of only four inaugural Texas cities to be designated a ‘Bird City,’” said Bastrop Mayor Connie Schroeder. “Bastrop is a great place to enjoy the outdoors. The designation was only possible because of the outstanding partnership between public and private entities focused on the environment. I am so proud of the team.”
That team, the Bird City Bastrop Coalition, consists of 10 different organizations who came together to plan activities and actions that would benefit birds. The 10 organizations worked on programs as the Bird City Bastrop Coalition in order to gain the Bird City Texas designation, and will continue to work together for the years to come. Coalition organizations are Master Naturalists-Lost Pines Chapter, Bastrop County Audubon, City of Bastrop, Bastrop County Master Gardeners, LCRA-McKinney Roughs, Bastrop State Park, Bastrop Chamber of Commerce, Visit Bastrop, Bastrop County Tourism & Economic Development, and the Bastrop Parks Board.
The new program recognizes Bastrop as one of the leaders in community action and bird conservation. Bastrop County is home to 277 different species of birds and a prime destination for bird watchers in the Lone Star State. The program also aims to attract more of Texas’ 2.2 million birdwatchers who are major drivers in the state’s $1.8 billion wildlife-viewing industry.
Bastrop has been committed to restoring the ecosystem for birds and other wildlife in many ways. One is by addressing light pollution as a Dark Sky Community for the benefit of migratory birds. In addition, Bastrop will be implementing certain infrastructural measures to ensure the urban area is hospitable for a wide variety of birds such as a bird-friendly area at rescheduling tree trimming to not interfere with nesting season.
Bastrop will also be providing education and birding events to the public including an “Introduction to Birding for Adults” class at the Bastrop Public Library and annual bird counts at Bastrop and Buescher State Parks, as well as McKinney Roughs Nature Park. Educational measures will also include teaching residents about the importance of native plants and controlling native species, and the measures to stop bird collisions into windows.
“Bastrop has big plans to become even more bird-friendly and I am confident this will lead to an improved community for people of Bastrop and birds,” said Dorothy Skarnulis, chairperson of Bird City Bastrop Coalition.
“The certification recognizes the amazing work our community has done to preserve the great outdoors of Bastrop,” said Susan Smith, president of Visit Bastrop. “We look forward to continuing the conservation efforts and welcoming more bird enthusiasts to the city.”
To learn more about Bastrop’s bird education events and activities, parks and recreation, as well as places to stay, go to visitbastrop.com. You can also find the Top 10 Public Birding Hotspots in Bastrop County.