What rare birds are around? Where can we
find them? Generally that is the first question
we hear from birders visiting the Valley. After
that subject has been exhausted the next subject
is "Any good restaurants in the area?" So
we hand out a list of our favorite restaurants to
Back to birds ... it is a safe assumption that
some rarities are around, because the Valley
is a top spot in the nation for rarities to show
up. The first concern is whether a rare bird has
been discovered. Next question is whether it
has been reported.
There are many ways to broadcast the news
of rarities, and most of these are open forums
accessible to anyone interested. Nationally
there is the North American Rare Bird Alert,
and for $50 per year subscribers receive alerts
on rare birds anywhere in the nation, delivered
to their email.
In Texas, we have several regional rare bird
alerts (rba), and in particular for the Valley, our
rba goes back decades. It used to be a recorded
telephone voice mail message for birders to
call and listen in on. The message was updated
when new birds showed up, and birders could
leave messages regarding their noteworthy
Today the Valley's rare bird alerts are online
, a site maintained by
Mary Gustafson as a service to birders.
A valuable forum with a history of decades is
texbirds. This forum is currently found at surfbirds.com/birdingmail/Group/Texas_Birds
The simplest way to locate it is to google
texbirds. The forum has typically about 2,500
subscribers and it operates as a posting forum
about Texas bird sightings. Posts may be information
(such as a list of birds and notes from a
birding outing or trip) or questions, and are frequently
answered and amplified by other subscribers.
Anyone can subscribe, providing they
follow the rules of the forum. Anyone can read
the posts. Often posts refer to blogs or photo
websites where one can find more detail. Texbirds
is archived and provides useful historical
information for birders and researchers.
Facebook: Rio Grande Valley Birds
This entertaining face book forum, with contributions
from many Valley birders, provides
a mixture of photos and information. It is easy
viewing and generally provides up to date reports
on rare birds. It has a mixture of experienced
and new birders, and can be entertaining
with the usual range of comments encountered
on face book. There is a trade out compared to
the other sites mentioned, with less "hard" information
than on texbirds and on the blog site,
but easy reading and great photos.
Go to alamoinnbnb.com
and click the link marked blog to see a blogsite with photos and
stories by Mary Beth Stowe, the Birding Pro at
Alamo Inn B&B, Gear and Tours. Keith Hackland
also contributes stories on birding the valley.
This blog provides information on what
one might see on a guided tour, as well as other
information on the area.
Searching the internet and facebook with
relevant terms does bring up numerous other
birding sites. The largest valley birding and
butterfly web site is maintained by Jan Dauphin.
It was set up and filled with information
by her and her late husband, David Dauphin.
Each birding destination in the Valley has a
web site with good information. Simply google
the name to find their site. One that is useful
, offering links to
the sites of the nine world birding centers.
Another with information about birding that
may not be easily found elsewhere, is southtexasnature.org
the site for South Texas Nature.
Another information source used by visiting
birders is a simple white board maintained at
most visitor centers of their recently seen rarities.
It is usually the first stop at any visitor
center for birders. We maintain a paper white
board at Alamo Inn B&B of Valley wide rarities,
of birds and butterflies. Get out there and
enjoy our unique Valley wildlife.