Endangered Golden-Cheeked Warblers Spotted in Cedar Hill After 20 Years of Absence —Texas
A pair of critically endangered golden-cheeked warblers have been spotted at the Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center in Cedar Hill, Texas, for the first time in roughly 20 years.
They are the only species of bird that only breeds in Texas. The center’s director, Julie Collins, refers to the bird species as native to Texans.
Bird enthusiasts, including Dan and Karen Carpenter, who were able to photograph one of the birds, have been drawn to this serene area of busy Dallas County by the unusual sighting.
According to Katie Christman, a longtime volunteer at the center, nobody is exactly sure why the golden-cheeked warblers have returned to Cedar Hill after such a protracted absence.
Some Ashe juniper trees can be found in the hilly, forested preserve. The only material the golden-cheeked warblers will use to construct their nests is the stringy bark of the trees. However, the number of locations where the birds can thrive has decreased due to development.
According to Christman, the golden-cheeked warbler is losing its essential habitat.
Pair of Endangered Golden-Cheeked Warblers
The discovery of a male and female golden-cheeked warbler in Cedar Hill has raised hopes for the birds’ comeback.
According to Christman, it is best to give the pair of birds the room they require to complete their tasks. Collins responded by speculating that perhaps there will be more of the species next year.
Seeing just one golden-cheeked warbler right now will likely be more than enough for the majority of local birdwatchers, according to NBCDFW.
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Only mixed Ashe-juniper combined with oak woodlands in ravines and canyons is used by golden-cheeked warblers as breeding grounds. Insects and spiders that are found on the bark and leaves of oak and other trees are consumed by warblers. To construct their nests, they use spider webs and lengthy strips of cedar bark.
By the end of March, males can be heard singing from the top of junipers on arid slopes in the hill country. According to Audubon, the birds return early in the spring. It has a limited geographic range and population, and recently it has had to contend with threats: where it still breeds, cowbirds frequently lay their eggs in its nest because of the habitat loss brought on by local development.
During nesting season, females produce 3-4 eggs. The Golden-cheeked Warbler is the only species of bird that only builds its nests in Texas out of the nearly 360 species of birds that breed there.
The tall juniper and oak woodlands that used to be home to golden-cheeked warblers have been extensively cleared for the construction of homes, roads, and businesses, according to Texas Parks & Wildlife data. To grow crops or even grass for livestock, some habitats had to be cleared. When large lakes were constructed, other habitat areas were flooded.
According to Audobon, the decision to list the species as endangered in 1990 was made as a result of the alarming rate at which the bird’s breeding grounds were disappearing as a result of development. A third of the birds’ Texas habitat, or nearly 1.5 million acres, has vanished despite federal protection.
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