Gulf Coast Bird Observatory | 299 Hwy 332 West, Lake Jackson, Texas 77566
Research Updates
Beach Nesting Birds Project: April - August
This year the Beach Nesting Bird Project is being led by our Shorebird Technician, Taylor Bennett, with assistance from our summer technician, Amelia Grider.. The program helps monitor and protect three specific species of beach nesting birds: Wilson’s Plover, Least Tern, and Black Skimmer. These species are considered species of high concern due to loss of habitat, climate change, and human disturbance. We monitor three sites: Bryan Beach, Matagorda Beach, and DOW Chemical Plant A. For the Wilson’s Plover, we located 17 nests, five of which have successfully hatched with at least 12 chicks observed. We also band adults and chicks to help keep track of the pairs and broods. We have banded 5 adults and 4 chicks so far. For the Least Terns, we have observed 80 adults with 40 nests at Matagorda and 40 adults, 19 nests, and 2 chicks at DOW. For the Black Skimmers, we have observed 630 adults and 150 nests at DOW. The amount of nests and chicks should increase within the next couple of months as more nests start to hatch. We will continue to monitor these species until all nests hatch and the chicks are able to fly. Taylor and Ameila have also been attending various outreach events and educating the public to help people become more aware of these amazing beach nesting birds. 
American Oystercatchers Struggling
It’s been a hard season so far for the oystercatchers. We have had a lot of bad weather and strong southerly winds which have caused very high tides for an extended period of time. A severe thunderstorm that moved along the coast in May destroyed most of the nests that hadn’t hatched and the high tides since have kept the birds from renesting. Only two chicks have fledged so far. There are three more that we are hoping will fledge but the adults are having a hard time feeding them due to the continuing high tides. It’s not over yet though so we have high hopes that the birds will lay more nests if the tide goes down. Think good thoughts and keep up with the latest on Facebook and in our Oystercatcher Diaries.
GCBO Receives Loggerhead Shrike Funding
We are very happy to announce we received a $4,500 grant from the Texas Ornithological Society for our ongoing Loggerhead Shrike project. This money will be used to support salary and travel for our collaborative project with the Texas Midcoast NWR Complex. We will be putting Motus nanotags on birds at Brazoria and San Bernard NWRs and then tracking them to determine their territory sizes and how they are using the habitat. In winter, Texas has both resident and migrant shrikes and we don’t know how the migrants fit in with the residents. Although our resident shrikes are still plentiful, shrikes in other parts of the country are declining so we want to determine if the birds that spend only the winter with us (migrants) are being forced into lesser quality habitat by the resident birds.
GCBO headquarters now Bird-Safe!
The GCBO headquarters building in Lake Jackson, TX is a wonderfully set building on 34 acres of Brazoria bottomland forest along the Camp Buffalo Bayou. We enjoy the many birds visible from our office windows!

But all those windows have come with a cost: bird strikes. Although not a huge number of birds have stuck our windows, any bird strike is one too many.

Millions of birds are said to die from window strikes annually in the US. This is a huge problem! So we have finally taken steps to stop any more bird fatalities or injuries.

Through an initial donation of BirdTape from American Bird Conservancy, and an additional purchase of more we are now becoming bird strike free. Thank you ABC!!

And thank you Harold and Sheryl, our awesome RV volunteers, for taking on this job!

You too can help by going to the American Bird Conservancy web site and geting your own BirdTape. Eventually we hope to sell it in our own GCBO gift shop.
Fall Intern Wanted!
We received funding from the Community Foundation of Brazoria County to support our intern program! We are seeking applications to serve as our intern from late August/early September to late November/early December. Fall interns will help with ongoing research projects including our Non-breeding Shorebirds project in which we monitor winter Piping Plovers along two beaches and our Intertidal Reef project in which we monitor bird use of intertidal reefs. Interns are required to help with office work a minimum of two days a week including entering volunteer hours, filing, and other tasks that help keep our office running smoothly. Finally, interns are in charge of keeping our bird feeders filled and our hummingbird feeders clean and full of sugar water. We prefer to have interns who are interested in a future working with birds. We can provide onsite housing if desired. We offer a weekly stipend of $100/week and an abundance of great experience!

Interested individuals should send a letter explaining their career goals, resume, and three references to director of conservation research Sue Heath.
Bill Clark Raptor Weekend
Join us for a fabulous Raptor ID Workshop with the leading expert on Raptors, Bill Clark!
Keynote Talk - Open to the public
Friday, October 11, 2019 at 7:30pm

On Friday, October 11, 2019 at 7:30pm, join us to hear Bill Clark speak on the raptors of the Rio Grande Valley. Many species of Neotropical raptor just reach the U.S. in south Texas. Additionally there are passages in the Rio Grande Valley of large number of migrating raptors, both in spring and fall, many of which also winter there. In this illustrated talk, Bill will discuss these raptors, with extensive coverage of Aplomado Flacon, Gray Hawk, White-tailed Hawk, Harris's Hawk, and Hook-billed Kite. He will show photos of many raptors in hand and will discuss their vocalizations and aspects of their biology. He will also include a discussion of four Mexican raptors that have occurred as vagrants. We will have Bill's books on hand so you can purchase a copy and get them signed. A $5 donation is suggested for attending the event.
photo of bill clark
Raptor ID Workshop
Saturday, October 12th,
Sunday, October 13th

On Saturday, October 12th, Bill Clark will present a Raptor Identification Workshop at GCBO! He will present a series of lectures on how to identify raptors in flight. On Sunday, October 13th, participants will spend the day at the Smith Point Hawk Watch putting everything they have learned to use in the field. In addition, Robert and Kay Lookingbill will catch live raptors to show participants at Smith Point. What a great deal! The cost is $150/participant. Learn more at our website and call Tricia today to sign up at 979-480-0999.
Upcoming 2020 GCBO Birding Tours
Come birding with GCBO and our Executive Director, Martin Hagne! Since we started offering birding trips last year they've been completely booked! Everyone is having a great time birding, exploring, enjoying some extraordinary scenery, dining on local cuisine, and just having a fun time!  We always hook up with at least one local guide for the best experience. Now Martin has laid out some wonderful destinations for 2020!  
Final plans are not in place for all trips, so if there are no date or cost details listed below please keep your eyes open for more details on these upcoming trips. If you want to be placed on a list for more info as soon as it is out, send Martin an email.
For those trips with dates below, please go to our website to register:
Duluth, MN
January 16-20, 2020
$895.00 for Single
$795.00 for Double
We will repeat this popular trip for boreal winter species! We will have a great time exploring the snow-covered Sax Zim Bog and northern forests of the Duluth area again this year, with possible views of Great Gray Owl, Snowy Owl, Northern Hawk-Owl, Bohemian Waxwing, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Boreal Chickadee, Evening Grosbeak, and all the other boreal species one expects to see!
Southeast Arizona in July

Southeast Arizona is legendary in the birding world as one of the must visit places for some very special birds and scenery! Elegant Trogons, Montezuma Quail, Arizona Woodpecker. Red-faced Warbler, Abert’s Towhee, Bridled Titmouse, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Gilded Flicker, a dozen or more hummingbirds, not to mention the night birds! Just a very small sampling of the diverse birdlife living in the desert and mountainous canyons. Bird such famous sites as the Chiricahua Mountains, Patagonia, and Madera Canyon.  Dates and Costs TBA. 
Cuba Birding Expedition
October 15-26, 2020
$5340.00 for Double
$5705.00 for Single
The GCBO has been working with partners in Cuba since 2005 on various avian research projects such as a hawk watch and a migratory bird banding station. With these relationships, travel with GCBO staff and our Cuban ornithological partners to visits research sites, and bird the fabulous Cuban avian diversity. Experience the rich avian culture, with a chance for 26 endemic species! 
Oaxaca, Mexico TBA

We hope to offer this fabulous birding and cultural trip again in 2021. Look for dates and more info coming up!
Join Us for June Bird Banding on the 15th!
Bird banding returns on June 15th from 8 am - noon. Come see birds in the hand and learn about the science of bird banding. The earlier you arrive the more birds you'll see.

And while you're here, why not check out our native plant nursery and wander our trails too? We even have picnic tables set up for an outdoor lunch -- It's the perfect nature outing for the family!
How Can You Help?
You can help support GCBO's mission in several important ways!
Save a Tree and some $!
We are trying to go as paperless as we can to save some trees and quite a bit on printing and mailing costs. We would love if you would let us email you instead of snail mailing a hard copy of any correspondence, including your future copies of the Gulf Crossings. Please email or call Tricia to say: “ Hey, GCBO, please start emailing me things! Here is my email…”    Thanks!    

DONATE NOW on our website to support our conservation programs.

BECOME A MEMBER  and receive our twice a year newsletter and a 10% discount in our nature store.
Make an in-kind donation to support our sanctuary needs.
We are in need of several 12’ x 12’ pop up tents/canopies. If you have one or more in good contention, we will put them to good use for kid’s camp, XHX, and Brew on the Bayou!

Black Oil Sunflower Seed and Chicken Scratch
We feed year-round here at GCBO, and during migration at Quintana. We stock our GCBO feeders to help augment natural foods, and this also helps our monthly banding research project. 
One Gallon Plastic Pots
We can use your used 1 gallon nursery plant pots for the Growery. We go through a lot of 1 gallon pots when potting up new plants. Let’s recycle them here. We’ll take one or a hundred! 
Now when you shop at Kroger, you can support GCBO!
GCBO is a registered charity through Kroger's Community Rewards Program. This means that you can register your Kroger Plus Card online and select GCBO as the organization of your choice. Every time you use your Kroger Plus Card, Kroger will donate a portion back to GCBO! This is an easy way to support GCBO while you shop - your donations help us continue to protect birds and birding habitat around the Gulf Coast and beyond. To register your Plus Card, click here . Our charity number is #DN782.

Support GCBO When You Shop on Amazon!
Do you shop on Amazon? Did you know you can do that same shopping on Amazon Smile and support GCBO with every purchase? Just go to the Amazon Smile website and select GCBO as your charity of choice and then shop, shop, shop! GCBO will receive a donation for every purchase you make.
Telephone:  979-480-0999  |  Email Us
All photographs are courtesy of GCBO staff unless otherwise noted.