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BAS logoFebruary 5, 2015 7:00 PM

Polo Field Golf Center/The First Tee 915 E. Mulberry

Joint Program San Antonio & Bexar Audubons

whooping crane photo by International Crane FoundationSaving Endangered Whooping Cranes: Meeting Quality Wintering Habitat Needs

by Dr. Elizabeth Smith, Conservation Biologist, Director - Texas Program of the International Crane Foundation

Dr. Smith will present an update on the wintering Whooping Cranes in Texas including efforts to protect habitat and freshwater flows to the the bays and estuaries critical to the species survival. The International Crane Foundation takes a multipronged approach to saving Whooping Cranes from extinction. From a low of 16 birds in 1941, this species has gradually rebounded to about 300 individuals in the last, wild Aransas-Wood Buffalo (AWB) population. In the AWB population, there are two overarching concerns to the overwintering cranes in Texas. First is to ensure enough coastal habitat will be available as the population increases. Second is to address diminishing freshwater inflows that threaten the healthy estuarine ecosystem necessary for the cranes.

ICF leada a strong team of academic and environmental scientists to identify how much habitat currently remains and how sealevel rise will affect habitat availability in the future. Dr. Smith also works with a variety of partners to understand how much water and when is critical to the survival of Whooping Crane’s primary food, the blue crab, and to the overIall health of each individual. This integrated approach is necessary to ensure this endangered species returns from the brink of extinction.

Dr. Elizabeth Smith is a Texas native growing up on the coast andDr. Elizabeth Smith photo doing field research on blue crabs earning degrees from Corpus Christi State University (B.S., M.S., Biology) and Texas A&M University (Ph.D., Wildlife & Fisheries Science). She worked for 17 years as a Research Scientist at the Center for Coastal Studies, TAMU-CC and joined the International Crane Foundation in 2011 as their Whooping Crane Conservation Biologist is now Director of the Texas Program. Dr. Smith works with a diversity of partners to educate the community and policy makers on the importance of healthy coastal ecosystems, which is dependent on the protection of large expanses of natural habitat and essential freshwater inflows into the bays from coastal rivers, including the San Antonio and Guadalupe. Research initiatives are focused on providing science-based information to address water management in coastal basins and monitor crane/habitat use in drought/wet cycles and ongoing crane health assessment on the wintering Whooping Crane population. Our outreach education has been focused on coastal communities, and we are now expanding to encompass a basin-wide approach. Join Dr. Smith and hear how connected we are to the tallest bird in North America and rarest crane in the World.

Learn about and support the Aransas Project and their efforts to save the Whoopers





WINTER SPARROWS & MORE Field Trip rufous crowned sparrow photo by greg pasztor

Sat., Jan. 24th, Jackson Nature Park.

This wonderful park, owned by Wilson County and managed by the San Antonio River Authority, is on Cibolo Creek, 48 miles east of San Antonio. The address is: 10422 Old Floresville Road, Stockdale, TX 78160. We'll plan to carpool from San Antonio and arrive at the Park a little before 9 AM. We might look for sparrows and other birds on the road leading up to the park before 9. To RSVP and for final details on meeting place and time, email or call 210.837.0577.

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2015 Jan-Feb-Mar Bexar Tracks newsletter

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Events at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center

For more information, please visit the website for Mitchell Lake Audubon Center:




BAS Program Thursday March 19, 6:30pm

Free & Open to the public.6:30pm at TriPoint (corner of 281 & N. St. Mary's, click for map)

Identifying Shorebirds

by Jason St. Sauver, Mitchell Lake Audubon Center Education Director

Who are all those birds wading, stalking, and walking the shores of the Mitchell Lake Wetlands? Our resident ‘Bird Nerd’ will fill you in on the clues to successfully identifying these often difficult birds. There will be a field trip the Sunday following to put your newfound skills to work.

Shorebird field trip graphic


Keep cats healthy! Keep them indoors. Visit the 'Cats Indoors' website to learn more.

Did you know that outdoor cats kill horned lizards and are a threat to the survival of the Texas State Reptile?

cat killing bird

Bexar Audubon Earth Share logo is a member of EarthShare. Click the icon to learn more.