Wednesday, November 30, 2011

TX Birds: Red-cockaded Woodpeckers. Chimney Swifts. Chuck Leveall. Wild Turkey.

For "Winged Wednesday", Let's visit some of the bird population at the forest mentioned in yesterday's "Tuesday Travel":

W. G. Jones State Forest Bird Watching Sites

"This 1,725-acre state forest was named for W. Goodrich Jones, the “Father of Forestry” in Texas. Primarily a native loblolly pine forest, it is managed as a “demonstration forest” to test various forest management techniques, forest genetics, and forest product utilization. Prescribed fires are set annually, and the mature pine areas are burned once every three to five years. The self-guided Sweetleaf Nature Trail is located in the northwest corner of the forest; it serves as an ideal classroom for learning about typical flora and fauna of southeast Texas.

Key birds: Wood Duck; Red-headed, Red-bellied, Downy, Hairy, Redcockaded, and Pileated Woodpeckers; and Brown-headed Nuthatch are present year-round.

Chuck-will’s-widow; Wood Thrush; Wormeating, Swainson’s, Kentucky, and Hooded Warblers; Louisiana Waterthrush; and Indigo and Painted Buntings occur in summer.

American Woodcock; Sedge Wren; and Henslow’s,

Henslow's Sparrow by Laura Erickson



Henslow Sparrow






Le Conte's Thrasher


Le Conte's Thrasher





LeConte’s, Fox, and Harris’s Sparrows can usually be found in winter.

This eTrail provides detailed information on birding strategies for this specific location, the specialty birds and other key birds you might see, directions to each birding spot, a detailed map, and helpful general information."


Red-headed Cockaded Interpretative Site

Banding the babies:

"The Red-cockaded Woodpecker lives in mature southern pine forests. Often the woodpecker selects pine trees that have an inside core of dead wood. This allows the woodpecker to easily dig out a cavity. As the woodpecker pecks, the pine tree bleeds pitch around the nest hole. The heavy flow of gum helps keep tree-climbing snakes away from the nest.  It also makes the nest easier to spot.

We were standing there looking for the woodpeckers and their nests.  All of a sudden, we heard them.  Tok, tok, tok.  We remained still and then realized the woods were full of woodpeckers."


Chimney Swifts

"This video shows the construction of a Chimney Swift Tower at W. G. Jones State Forest in Conroe, Texas. The tower was an Eagle Scout project, supported by W.G. Jones State Forest and the Heartwood Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist Program."


"Chimney Swifts are birds specialized for high-speed aerial life. They eat almost one-third of their body weight in flying insects such as mosquitoes, flies, and termites every day.

Like many bird species, Chimney Swifts are declining in numbers and need our help. Historically, swifts roosted and nested in hollow trees. Because of losses to their natural nest sites, today, Chimney Swifts rely almost completely on humans for their nesting and roosting structures. Chimneys and towers, such as the one built at W. G. Jones State Forest, are particularly useful.

For more information about Chimney Swifts, visit the Houston Audubon Society website at Click on "Resources" then "Nature Fact Sheets."

Also visit, a project of the Driftwood Wildlife Association."


Celebrity Endorsement for Southern Pine Habitat Conservation

image "Rolling Stones keyboardist and tree farmer Chuck Leveall hosted a Southern Pine Habitat Field Day on June 5 at his Georgia Ranch."


"Hosting a forest conservation field day is perhaps the last thing one might expect from a rock star, but that is exactly what the Rolling Stones’ keyboardist, Chuck Leavell was doing this June on his Georgia Ranch. The program, made possible by a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation grant, was held to highlight management methods for southern pine habitat on private lands on Georgia’s Coastal Plain. Leavell, as well as being an accomplished musician who has played with countless stars from Chuck Berry to the Indigo Girls, is a respected tree farmer and conservation author, and so makes an ideal forest conservation spokesperson (see:

The American Forest Foundation (AFF) is taking the lead in promoting the conservation of wildlife in privately-owned pine habitat throughout the Southeast with its Family Forester and Tree Farmer programs. ABC is a partner in these efforts, providing input on the needs of the priority birds in this habitat, including Bachman’s Sparrow, wintering Henslow’s and LeConte’s Sparrows, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Prairie Warbler, and, in some cases, Red-cockaded Woodpecker.

The program began in southern Mississippi, where the Endangered gopher tortoise is also a major concern.
A number of large landowners have already enrolled in the program, adopting many of the conservation recommendations outlined by AFF, ABC, Environmental Defense, the Mississippi Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and other partners in a user-friendly handbook for management of these forests. The
recommendations include use of relatively frequent prescribed burns, thinning of forests, and elimination of invasive, exotic plants. This work is funded by a grant from FWS.

AFF and ABC plan to expand this program into South Carolina and eventually throughout the Southeast Coastal Plain from North Carolina to Texas. Given that the vast majority of land in this area is owned by private non-industrial landowners, this
approach may be the most effective means of improving the status of these high-priority birds. Contact: David


Most of these escaped the fate of their domesticated cousins:

Wild Turkey:

Northern Bobwhite. By: Bill Hubick

Banner stats and range map

"Unlike its domesticated cousin, the Wild Turkey is a long-lived, shy bird that is also an agile flyer. Birds can sometimes be seen foraging in groups, often separated into males and females during winter. Populations have recovered from historic lows of perhaps 30,000 birds around the early 1900s to around 7 million today thanks to conservation efforts led by the hunting community and state agencies. The turkey was favored by Benjamin Franklin to be the U.S. national bird but lost out to the Bald Eagle."



Finally, I found one of my late dog's sweaters, and as it was a bit chilly, I put it on Misty.   But it is a little short for her, as it doesn't cover her bum.  She seemed quite happy to have it on.  I hope I find some more of them, as I know they are longer.

We went to pick up Jay, and he took Maddie walking with Misty.  Back here, we started unloading the van.  As we took the flea market residue out, it was put in a different area, for the sake of OHIO, 'Only Handle It Once'.  If I go back to the flea market next Sunday, those items were all put in one place, but in my display baskets this time. 

The rest was put in the RVport, in case I want to have one more yard sale here.

Then we attacked the guest house attic.  Several months ago we had to run a new electrical line to Ray's laundry room, and to do that we had to move some rolls of new carpet that I have stored up there.  It didn't get put back until Jay and I did it yesterday, as it was too hot to be up there before now.

Once the carpet was back in place, we could get to my yard sale stuff so I could go through it.  We brought most of the items down to the RVport.   There wasn't as much up there as I thought, we must have donated a bunch of stuff last time.  I hope Levi's doggie coats weren't among the donations.

I took Misty's measurements so that I can buy her some coats or sweaters.  I can't let my old dog get cold.  I hope we don't have another really cold winter, but I had better be prepared. 

Rather than go on our usual Wednesday shopping, it is time to get the rest of the winter preparations done.  Last night's low was 32°, but we need get ready for colder temperatures, while it's warmer for the next few days.


Dizzy-Dick said...

As long as the dog's main body is covered, it helps to keep them warm. Of course a longer one is OK, too, but sometimes gets in the road when they have to go out, if you know what I meam.

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comment, Dick.

This coat is also too narrow so it bunches up around her waist, that is if she had a waist, as she is a bit podgy! I just want one that comes to her tail, so it won't get in the way of anything.

Happy Tails, and Trails, Penny.

An English Shepherd said...

Unfortunatly I would love to chase those birds... (The boss thinks its a crop scaring away thing!)

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you for your comment, Wizz.

But you are supposed to be a trial dog or herding dog, not a bird dog!

Happy Tails, Trails, and Trials, Penny, TX