The little bird named the golden-cheeked warbler is well known in Central Texas. This endangered bird is the most famous of all the endangered species to call the Texas Hill Country home. Surveys conducted years ago estimated the golden-checked warbler population in Texas at 9,000 to 54,000 birds. This startling number increased habitat management activities for this depressed population, but now it seems there may be more than previously believed. Researchers from Texas A&M University say there could be many, many more than initially thought.
Source: “The researchers calculate the rangewide population of male warblers in Texas at a shade over 263,000. Previous surveys counted roughly 9,000 to 54,000 birds. The work will be published in the Journal of Wildlife Management; it was posted on the journal’s website earlier this year. Continue reading
Wildlife management is just as much an art as it is a science. Many folks find this difficult to comprehend since science is based on measurements, data analysis and conclusions. These elements sound a lot like wildlife and habitat management, but environmental conditions are always changing. Wetter-than-average years, droughts, die-offs and reproduction mean ever-changing plant and animal populations. Science is important part of the picture, but when the palette is continually changing, so is the art of wildlife management. Both must work hand-in-hand, and the land manager must always be versed in the science of adaptive resource management.
With this in mind, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will be offering wildlife management classes for private landowners at the Kerr Wildlife Management Area (WMA) the first friday of every month during August, September and October. These classes will teach participants how to manage their Hill Country lands for the benefit of native plants and animals and will aim to address natural resource concerns in the Edward’s Plateau. Continue reading
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program has launched a new, web-based interactive map with information about endangered species success in every state: stories of species making strides towards recovery, audio interviews and podcasts with Service biologists about on-the-ground endangered species management, and videos that highlight the Service’s partners. The site also has information on habitat management for conservation of endangered species.
The interactive map can be found online right here and also has links for the Endangered Species Program’s new weekly e-newsletter and ways to connect via social media. Continue reading
Prairie chickens are native to Texas and the Great Plains of the U.S., but wildlife officials are now hunting for prairie chickens, which have declined in numbers over the last 100 years. The first range-wide aerial survey to assess lesser prairie-chicken populations across portions of five states this spring detected several previously unknown breeding areas, known as leks, despite severe drought across their habitat last year. Aerial survey teams also detected leks in Kansas beyond what was thought to be the northern extent of the bird’s historic range.
Although complete survey results be tallied until later this summer, the survey data could be important as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers whether to list the lesser prairie-chicken under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The lesser prairie-chicken has been considered a candidate under the ESA since 1998, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has indicated it will release a proposed rule on the status of the bird for public comment this fall. Information from surveys will be used as a baseline by the state fish and wildlife agencies for wildlife management, to monitor trends in prairie-chicken populations and to target conservation programs in partnership with private landowners, oil and gas industries, wind energy, and electric utilities. Continue reading