Port Aransas: Bird City Texas Certified Community

Learn more about the excellent work being done in Port Aransas to involve their community, improve habitat, and create safer spaces for birds. Below you will find some details about Port Aransas as well as a few examples of the local bird-friendly initiatives they have implemented that led to their Bird City Texas official certification. This list is not exhaustive but hopefully helps give insight on what local communities are doing to support birds and the spaces where they live. We hope these examples help you discover ways your community can work to protect birds and their habitat where you live.


Population: 4,143
Acres of Parkland: 1,312
Dates of certification: 2020-2022

Port Aransas location

Community Engagement

Active with both the Christmas Bird Counts and with plenty of diverse eBird hotspots within the small community, Port Aransas welcomes both tourists and locals to embrace the unique beauty the community has to offer. As far as Port Aransas is concerned, all ages have the ability to love and protect birds and they prove this with both their weekly bird walks as well as their school programming for 5th to 8th graders, as well as their multi-generational programming put on via UT Marine Science Institute.

Habitat Enhancement and Protection

Port Aransas has been acquiring land for conservation since 1993, and they continue to work at expanding and protecting important bird habitat in their tight community, which is laid out as a goal in the Port Aransas Nature Preserve Master Plan that was approved by the City Council in 2019. They’re incorporated a proactive invasive species removal plan as well, which helps keep green spaces full of useful native plants, which offer both protection and food for local and migrating birds.

Creating Safer Places for Birds

Port Aransas understands that humans can have created many hazards for birds to overcome and as a community are coming together to remedy this. They’ve taken big steps in creating healthier, safer environments for birds by building offices which will deter bird strikes, embraced restrictions of feeding wild animals that ultimately cause harm to waterfowl, and reducing invasive species that cause direct harm to birds or degrade their habitats.

Want to learn more?

Contact Port Aransas directly to learn more about what they are doing to protect birds in their community.

habitat improvement
Port Aransas Nature Preserve boardwalk opening

Additional Resources

Certification Criteria Commitment

Certified communities make a three-year commitment to accomplish specific projects, host bird-related events, promote local initiatives, pass bird-friendly ordinances, and more in order to achieve certification. These commitments fall into three categories: Community Engagement, Habitat Enhancement and Protection, and Creating Safe Spaces for Birds. Each category has a minimum requirement of actions a certified community must select. In addition to the example listed above, Port Aransas has also committed to complete the following actions for each of the three categories.

Category 1: Community Engagement (5 required)

  • Participates in at least one National Audubon Society community science program annually
  • Engage in long-term local bird monitoring programs that incorporate eBird and/or iNaturalist
  • Create bird watching amenities in public parks
  • Host a completely native plant sale and advertise community-wide for the event.
  • Park system/museums offer education opportunities that complement Bird City Texas Program
    Bird City_Port A_2538.JPG
    Bird survey during the Great Texas Birding Classic
  • Public parks have signage that prioritizes bird ID and native bird ecology in their message
  • Speaker/workshop series focusing on birds, wildlife, habitat, environmental stewardship. Min 3/year
  • Annual bird festival that promotes community stewardship and appreciation of native birds and their habitats

Category 2: Habitat Enhancement and Protection (8 required)

  • Develop and implement bird-centric wildlife management plan(s)
  • Acquire and conserve land for birds, wildlife, and native plant communities
  • Modify and improve existing habitat for birds, wildlife, and native plant communities
  • Adopt native-only recommended list for all new business and residential developments
  • Use prescribed fire to benefit birds and native ecosystems
  • Zoning and land use restrictions to buffer nature preserves against development
  • Manage natural areas to encourage wildlife habitat, including “No Mow” areas for native plants
  • Manage a municipal or public golf course for the benefit of native birds

Category 3: Creating Safer Spaces for Birds (4 required)

  • At least 1 major public building receives LEED certification
    Bird City_Port A_2506.JPG
    Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center
    with Credit for Bird Collision Deterrence
  • Prohibit feeding of ducks on community-managed properties
  • Community stormwater management plan implements actions from the national Menus of Best Management Practices for Stormwater
  • Remove invasive or harmful animal species, including some bird species, deer, and/or wild pigs.
  • Prohibits the formation, maintenance, or support of outdoor cat colonies inside or adjacent to parks/natural areas. Removal of cat colonies within or adjacent to parks/natural areas will qualify
  • Monitor and limit the release of native wildlife and prohibit the release of domestic animals