Numerous types of birds can be found in this area. Austin College biology Professor Wayne Meyer gave a crash course in recognizing bird songs Saturday at Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge.
Of the more than 200 bird species that can be found at Hagerman, Meyer gave listening tips to recognize 14 different birds.
Locally, I have a heck of a time trying to tell the difference between the Baltimore Oriole and the Portugal Oriole,” he said. “They sound so similar to me that I have to ask which one is which.”
The big three, or most prevalent birds at Hagerman, Meyer said are the northern cardinal, the Carolina wren, and the tufted titmouse.
“If you can identify those then you do not have to spend time with them and you will be able to recognize the other sounds in the area,” he said. “Probably one of the most important things and the reason why I do these kinds of talks is that birds are in trouble.”
People are wiping out a lot of different habitats, Meyer said. He said, while different species are still in nature, it is getting harder to find large numbers of the same kinds of birds.
“When I started birding in 1973, there was a place I went in Connecticut — in the morning, we would see 17 or 18 different species of warblers, and we would see five or six different warblers of each species,” Meyer said. “Now, I have friends that still go to that same place and they only see two or three different warblers of each species.”
Mike Petrick of Plano regularly comes to Hagerman to do bird listening.
“Today, I learned that I cannot tell the difference between a painted bunting and an indigo bunting,” he said. “My favorite kind of bird is yellow-billed cuckoo. It sounds like cuckoo-cu-cuckoo.”
Petrick said bird listening is important because a lot of times individuals can hear more things than they can see.
“If you learn the songs, you can learn what is out there without ever seeing them,” he said.
Karen Glenn said she now wants to try to identify the birds in her yard.
“I am going to become a master naturalist,” she said. “I decided to take this class so that it will go towards my hours. I am a wildlife major, so this was just a natural event and program for me to come to.”