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New Book Urges Texans To Join The Hummingbird Roundup
AUSTIN, Texas — “Hummingbirds of Texas,” a new book by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department employees that benefits hummingbird conservation, is the first work devoted to the 19 species of hummingbirds seen in Texas and surrounding states.
The book is published by Texas A&M University Press and written for a general audience, with color images for birders and nature enthusiasts at every level to help reveal the big appeal of the little hummingbird.
“All royalties from the sale of this book go back into the department’s Hummingbird Roundup Program,” said co-author Clifford Shackelford, TPWD ornithologist. “The point is that all proceeds go back to the hummingbirds and not into our pockets as authors.”
The Texas Hummingbird Roundup is a TPWD program that enlists Texans to help biologists track and study the birds. The program provides participants with a kit that includes a survey form and a booklet with information on Texan species, how to clean and maintain feeders, and suggestions on additional plants for the garden.
“As plant pollinators, hummingbirds are important because they are a good indication of the health of our wildflower population and the impact of urbanization on our native ecosystems,” said co-author Mark Klym, TPWD information specialist and coordinator of the Texas Hummingbird Roundup.
The book focuses on hummingbirds, their habitats and their human appeal in Texas, plus Arizona and New Mexico, which Klym calls “our fellow hummingbird states,” because the rich diversity of hummingbirds is almost identical in the three states.
At the time the book was written, Texas had recorded 18 hummingbird species, more than any other state. (Arizona has since recorded the same number, albeit with a different species list. The book includes a 19th species, the plain-capped starthroat, not yet seen in Texas). This hummingbird diversity is a testimony to Texas’ size and diversity of habitat types—from coastal wetlands to central hills and prairies to eastern forests to western deserts and mountains—which in turn host diverse birds and wildlife.
“Since all but two hummingbirds that occur in the United States are found in Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, the book is useful anywhere in the nation,” said Klym. “The book will appeal to anyone interested in hummingbirds, including birders, gardeners, and photographers.”
Former TPWD employee Madge Lindsay, currently executive director of Audubon Mississippi, also contributed to the book before she left Texas.
The book includes around 90 color photos taken by Texans Sid and Shirley Rucker and more than 40 illustrations by Clemente Guzman III, a TPWD illustrator. It is 110 pages long and currently available only in hardcover. It retails for $24.95 and can be purchased online or from booksellers across the country.
Several annual festivals celebrate the fall migration of hummingbirds through Texas, including the Hummer/Bird Celebration Sept. 15-18 in Rockport and the Xtreme Hummingbird Xtravaganza Sept. 10 hosted by the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory in Lake Jackson.
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