Texas Partners in Flight

Guidelines for Bird Habitats

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Photo of Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

To survive, birds need habitat. Exactly what type and how much depends on each species' food preferences, foraging strategies, and nest site requirements. Some kinds of birds do fine in suburban and even urban areas. But species whose requirements are specific, in particular, birds that require large tracts of woodland or grassland are having more difficulty. For example, the Swainson's Warbler, a bird of southeastern bottomland hardwood forests, requires about 25 acres of habitat per breeding pair, and a single pair usually will not nest until other pairs inhabit the area too. Maintaining a viable population of these birds requires a forested tract of approximately 5,000 acres. For species with specific habitat requirements we must maintain suitable habitat in the face of human activity, and the challenge is heightened by the fact that, unlike humans, birds do not pay attention to land ownership. Because their habitats cross legal boundaries, habitat protection must follow their lead. Is protecting habitat for migratory birds a realistic goal for the 21st century? You bet! Many amateur birders, conservationists, and private landowners support the conservation of bird populations and their associated habitats before species reach critically low levels- at which point intervention becomes expensive and controversial. Maintaining habitat can and does occur on the local, state, regional, national and international levels. In order for habitat conservation to be successful, habitat maintenance should follow several guiding principles. These can be applied to the conservation of breeding range, wintering grounds, and migratory corridors. All land managers, public and private, should find these principles helpful in guiding their plans to enhance, and or, conserve migratory bird habitat. Perhaps the most important aspect of habitat conservation is what YOU (as an individual) can do to conserve or enhance habitat for birds.

Photo of Red bellied Woodpecker by James Solomon, USDA Forest Service

Photo of Red bellied Woodpecker by James Solomon, USDA Forest Service, www.forestryimages.org

Guidelines for Backyard Habitat Conservation Projects

Guidelines for Conservation of Migratory Birds on Grasslands

Guidelines for Conservation of Migratory Birds in Forested Areas

Guidelines for Conservation of Migratory Birds on Farmlands

Agricultural Practices
Photo of Snowy Egret

Snowy Egret

Farmland Structure

Guidelines for Conservation-Oriented Land-Use Planning

For additional information write to:

Texas Partners in Flight Program
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
or send a message to: nature@tpwd.state.tx.us