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Spring 2014          A publication of the Wildlife Division—Getting Texans Involved


Welcome to the first edition of Eye on Nature that will not be printed as a hard copy. With the printing of the fall 2013 edition, we made the hard decision to go with a strictly electronic format for the main newsletter, and make a pdf version available for those who want to print a hard copy for themselves. To make sure that you are always aware that a new issue has been posted, subscribe to Eye on Nature at https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/TXPWD/subscriber/topics. You can also follow us on facebook by searching for “Texas Wildlife Diversity Program-Texas Parks and Wildlife Department” where we will also post notice of new publications.

Urban Wildlife

The spring 2014 Eye on Nature is focused on wildlife in the city. Everyone knows that squirrels and grackles make their way into the city, but the lead article by Derek Broman focusses on bobcats using urban landscapes. Diana Foss calls our attention to bats using urban structures for their daytime roosts – and not just in Austin! Brett Johnson deals with a messy, both in the literal and in the “touchy” sense, issue of egrets nesting in an urban rookery, while Keith Crenshaw reminds us that hogs aren’t just a rural problem.

DFW Public Contributing to Urban Carnivore Research


By Derek Broman

In the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex (DFW), Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Urban Wildlife Office is currently involved with a collaborative urban bobcat research project that seeks to provide information on bobcat habitat, diet, and population demographics in an urban landscape.

DFW Public Contributing to Urban Carnivore Research

Photo © Chris Jackson

Nature Tourism and the Value of City Bats

Trans Pecos Landscape

By Diana Foss

Bats are often shrouded by myths and erroneous movie stereotypes. But the real fact is that bats are highly beneficial, providing significant services to people and ecosystems, including cities! Bats living in urban areas often receive a mixed welcome when discovered.
Nature Tourism and the Value of City Bats

Photo © D. Humes

Managing Your Property for Wildlife

By Judit Green

Every day for the past 9 years I have driven along my usual route heading to my office located on a State Natural Area just outside of San Antonio. Leaving my neighborhood’s city streets lined by homes with turf grass lawns and arriving to this beautiful rural drive where an array of plants fill the understory of large canopy trees alongside this two-lane road sets the tone for my day.
Read more of Managing Your Property for Wildlife

Texas Wildscapes and Texas Water

By Mark Klym

Rain – a precious commodity anywhere in the Lone Star State. The water we have is under increasing demand to refresh our thirsty cities and quench our parched crops. Water is precious, and scarce, yet often one of the easiest ways we could conserve water, and one of the most effective, is completely over looked.
Read more about Texas Wildscapes and Texas Water

Heronries in Urban Areas: Living with Cattle Egrets

Great Egret

by Brett Johnson

“They are such pretty birds!” “These birds are driving me crazy!” “They don’t hurt anyone. Can’t we just leave them alone?” and “There is bird poop literally everywhere.” These were all statements that I heard for the first time in 2010, and then again in 2011.
Read more about Heronries in Urban Areas: Living with Cattle Egrets

Home Owner’s Association and Citizens Work to Combat Feral Hogs In The Big City

By Keith Crenshaw

When you think of Houston, you might think of the museum district near downtown. You might think a little greener and go to Memorial Park. Most others think of Houston as bright lights and asphalt. Citizens of Kingwood, a suburb on the Northeast outskirts of Houston, live in their community dubbed ‘The Liveable Forest’.
Home Owner’s Association and Citizens Work to Combat Feral Hogs In The Big City

Urban White-Tailed Deer

By Jessica Alderson

White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) pose a growing urban wildlife management problem in many metropolitan areas throughout the United States. As urban sprawl increases, the natural habitat required by many wildlife species disappears, but white-tailed deer are able to adapt to urban environments and human activity.
Read more of Urban White-Tailed Deer

Urban Wildlife
Wood Pecker Even a citified yard can be a nature haven

By Sheryl Smith-Rodgers

“He’s coming!” During the day, I often holler news flashes at my husband. Seated at my desk, typing on a project, I can hear the Golden-fronted Woodpecker before he alights on a wooden suet feeder in our back yard.
Read more of Urban Wildlife

Great Birding in El Paso
Townsend Solitaire

By Lois Balin

Many folks from the great state of Texas (and beyond) think the El Paso area is a dusty and drab desert, devoid of wildlife species. They would be wrong; El Paso in far western Texas not only has a unique blend of New Mexico, Mexico, and Texas cultures, and a rich history, but an amazing variety of birds as well. Over 400 bird species have been found here.
Great Birding in El Paso

You Can Help Complete the Cycle

By Mark Klym

Everyone loves butterflies! The beautiful colors and graceful aerobatics of this little insect seems to work its way into our psyche. Their presence never seems to fail to bring shouts of excitement and contented smiles. Most butterflies spend their entire life in a very small area, though some, including the monarch, may migrate great distances.
Vegetation Changes

Back Porch

By Richard Heilbrun

I haven’t been able to spend much time outside lately, but thankfully, the spring weather is quickly nudging me out the door. And I know just what I want to do. We’ve been talking to the folks at www.iNaturalist.org recently and cooked up some neat partnership ideas to enable all Texans to share with us all the cool stuff they see when they’re outside.
Read more of Volunteering

Did You Know?

  • Did you know that grasslands were once widespread in west Texas?
  • Did you know that Texas is home to three species of horned lizards?
  • Did you know that beetles are now being used to help control salt cedar in Texas?
  • Did you know that the Desert Bighorn Sheep population in Texas may be as high as 1100 individuals?
  • Did you know that Texas is home to two diverse mountain lion populations?

Wild Stuff!

Introduction to Texas Turtles Ad
Introduction to Texas
Turtles Booklet

Send an email request to mark.klym@tpwd.state.tx.us


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