Birding in South Texas


If you’ve experienced it before, you know the unrelenting heat of a South Texas summer, though you haven’t had a true summer’s day in the lower Rio Grande Valley if you haven’t spent it with the birds who play their smarts to keep cool this season. Which is why morning hours are most suitable for birdwatching beginning late June. As much as on a hot day, we may find ourselves looking for shade or a refreshing glass of lemonade; our aviary friends sometimes struggle to keep up with their survival needs. At Quinta Mazatlán, we prioritize the restoration and care of the Tamaulipan Thorn Forest, one benefit being that it secures harmony with the species around us in a world commonly masked by concrete and urban chatter.

In these times, we are encouraged to look to nature to nurture our minds, bodies, and souls. We also should consider how we might reciprocate all we are given by the green spaces we hold dear. When we know the birds are common and close to us, we welcome the opportunity to expand our community, enrich our culture and the quality of the lives belonging to them.

While the subtropical humidity slows down birding activity, spring visitors, such as Couch’s Kingbird, Altamira Oriole, and Hooded Oriole, make the south their home while breeding. Among them are regular vagrants such as Green Jay, White-eyed Vireo, and Golden-fronted Woodpecker!

Bring your curiosity over to Quinta Mazatlán’s Amphitheater, where native avifauna help themselves to seeds, fresh fruits, and water under the shade of trees of Mesquite, Anaqua, and Texas Ebony. Expand your curiosities at home and support birds this summer by providing water in a shallow container or natural foods like oranges, apples, and grapefruits, which nectar takers especially love.

As you meet the rising sun to witness the bright orange Hooded Oriole or the soft green underbelly of a White-eyed vireo, note the act is a courtesy, though the gesture finds prominence in the motives carried behind the adventures sought out. Whether to identify as many species as one can, to be close to nature, or through a genuine interest in the ecologies we neighbor, being mindful of the intent of our practices and life habits gives us greater agency over the relationships we build with our natural world, for today and generations to come.

Taylor Zavala
Quinta Mazatlán