Spring Migration along the Heritage Trail
By Hanna Reed
Spring 2018 Intern
Spring bird migration is in full swing here at the Ranch! Last Friday, Amber Killian, one of our historic interpreters, stopped by my desk and invited me to join her for a walk along the Heritage Trail. It was a gorgeous sunny day, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get outside and learn about the local bird population.
Amber used to volunteer at nearby Brazos Bend State Park, and consequently has a wealth of knowledge about birds that migrate north from Mexico and make a stop here each spring. As we walked the Trail, which is a handicap-accessible half-mile loop along the banks of Dry Creek, she explained that the waterfowl stop here during their migration due to the marshy environment around the water. Plants growing on the banks include wild rice and bulrushes; birds love the taste of the plants and like to seek shelter among the dense vegetation. As Amber puts it, the plants provide “a great stop for them to do their birdy thing.”
Along the trail, you might also see Eastern Bluebirds, Little and Great Blue Herons, Egrets, Coots, Red Winged Black Birds, American Woodcocks, Roseate Spoonbills, Rookeries, Painted Buntings, Yellow-Rumped Warblers and other warblers. During our walk, I saw at least a quarter of those bird thanks to the assistance of Amber’s bird-watching eyes.
I highly recommend any bird watchers or nature photographers come out and walk the Heritage Trail. (You’ll also get to see the gators sunning and hear the bullfrogs croaking!) Amber and I hope to see you all here appreciating how beautiful springtime can be on the Ranch!