Bird Census

Attention Oakridge birders: our winter census is scheduled for the weekend of Feb 2-3. If you are new to birding, you can join with one of 3 or 4 groups covering the ranch. Learn birds and meet neighbors. Let Amy Hardy know if you are interested!

Oakridge Winter Bird Census

Eastern Phoebe B.LaVergne, 2013.

Our 2018 Winter Birding Census will be held on Saturday & Sunday, the 3rd & 4th of February, 2018.   Participants can bird either morning they wish.  If you are interested in joining in, please contact Amy Hardy, ORWMA Birding Chairperson, at amyhardytx@gmail.com for additional information.

The Birding Census will conclude with a lunch at the Hardy home on Sunday, Feb 4th.

We hope everyone will consider participating!  Bird counts are generally done at daybreak when the birds are most active.  Simply walk your property and use the attached bird list to write down how many you see of each species.  Turn your completed list(s) in to Amy via email or take them to the lunch on Sunday, the 4th.  Grab a cup of coffee, bottle of water, your binoculars & cameras and hit the fields and woods of Oakridge Ranch.

Have fun!  Live life outdoors!

New bird checklist_Amy

Oakridge’s Fall & Winter Visitors

Fall has come to Oakridge Ranch!  What a beautiful time of year!

But even better is the fact that Fall & Winter brings a beautiful bird to our area, the American Bald Eagle.   Thank you, Maggie Lynch, for this picture!   So neighbors, keep your cameras ready.   You never know what you’ll see  or what is seeking a safe haven here at Oakridge Ranch.   Click on the picture to enlarge it and check out this amazing bird of prey.

Live life outdoors!

American Bald Eagle, Photo by M.Lynch, October 2017

 

Greater Roadrunners at Oakridge Ranch

Greater Roadrunner, July 2017, Photo by B.LaVergne
Greater Roadrunner, July 2017, Photo by B.LaVergne

GreaterRoadrunner2_Aug2017_BLaVergne

The Greater Roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) is native to the desert southwest portion of the U.S., also found in most states of the southwest.  These birds are year-round natives of Texas, including the Oak Prairie Region here at Oakridge Ranch.   Several birds have been seen for the last few years in our area and we have had a nesting pair for the last 4 years.

These birds are much more interesting than the one made famous in the Warner Brothers cartoon series.   Adult birds are 20-24 inches long with a large up-turned tail and long beak and mottled black/brown & white feathering throughout its body that appears to look like stripes.   These birds have long legs with 4 toes on each foot, two pointing forward & two pointing back.   You’ll rarely see a Roadrunner in flight for more than a few feet because it can’t get the lift it needs due to its size.   However, Roadrunners have been clocked at 12 to 17 miles per hour.

Roadrunners mate for life and have 2 or 3 clutches per year as habitat conditions and food availability allow.   A hen will usually lay 2 to 12 eggs in one clutch, but records show up to 20 eggs have been laid in rare clutches.   Their nest is built by the female 2 to 12 feet off the ground with materials supplied by both the male and female.   Interesting thing is the male sits on the nest at night since the female’s body temperature drops too low to keep the eggs warm enough.   Young birds hatch out at about 20 days and are taken care of by both parents.  The baby Roadrunners will leave the nest at 18 to 21 days, but will continue to be fed & cared for by the parents until day 30 to 40 when they go out on their own.  Greater Roadrunners’ life span is approximately 8 years.

Greater Roadrunners are omnivores.  Their diet is varied and includes insects, various plants & berries, lizards, small birds such as sparrows & hummingbirds.   And they are fast enough to take on rattlesnakes for dinner!   These beautiful birds do drop their activities by approximately 50% during the heat of the day.

Stay alert when you’re on the roads in and around Oakridge and you just might catch a glimpse of the amazing birds.

Below is a link for more information on breeding of Roadrunners in Texas:
http://txtbba.tamu.edu/species-accounts/greater-roadrunner/

Check out this next link for a map of their locations in the U.S.:
http://www.audubon.org/field-guide/bird/greater-roadrunner

Click on any picture here to enlarge it!

Live life outdoors!

Spa Day for a Young Chick, Aug 2017
Spa Day for a Young Chick, Aug 2017

All Fluffed Up!   Photo by B.LaVergne
All Fluffed Up! Photo by B.LaVergne

2017 Winter Bird Census – Feb 4th

Eastern Bluebird at Oakridge Ranch, unknown photographer/date
Eastern Bluebird at Oakridge Ranch, unknown photographer/date

Since the first years of the millennium, folks at Oakridge have conducted winter and summer bird censuses.  In keeping with that tradition, we invite anyone interested in birds at the ranch to participate in this year’s winter census on the morning of Saturday February 4th from first chirp (around 7 am) to Noonish or whenever you think you’ve had enough!  We will meet later that afternoon (between 3 and 5 pm) at our house to turn in checklists, have some snacks and refreshments and discuss the birds we saw.

You are welcome to census your own place or join a team and maybe learn a few new birds with your neighbors.  We will try to cover as many habitats within the ranch as possible.  If you are interested in participating, please let me know so I can send you a checklist and so we can plan for how many people are coming that afternoon.

Birds are an essential ingredient in any wildlife habitat and censuses may qualify as an activity in a wildlife plan.  I hope you will participate and start down that path to becoming a bird nerd, if you’re not already!  It’s fun and easy.

Amy Hardy
Chairman-ORWMA Bird special interest group
amyhardytx@gmail.com

[Click on any picture to enlarge it.]

Cedar Waxwings; Photo by B.LaVergne, Feb 2014.
Cedar Waxwings; Photo by B.LaVergne, Feb 2014.

Spring 2016 Whitetail Update

Young Fawn, Photo by D.Mason, May 2013.
Young Fawn, Photo by D.Mason, May 2013.

Well, here we are in April already – cool mornings, warm afternoons with plenty of sunshine and an adequate amount of rain. The grass is growing and the birds are nesting.  Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone of a couple of things regarding our whitetail herd and turkey flock.

The early breeding does will begin fawning soon. Please be careful when you are mowing your tall grass.  The does hide their newborns in it and the fawns are instinctively not going to move when danger approaches.  This brings me to the next reminder.  If you find a fawn and you do not see the doe around, don’t worry.  Mom knows where she left her baby.  Take a moment to admire nature’s creation then leave the fawn(s) undisturbed.  Mom will take care of the rest.

Many of you have had the opportunity to observe the turkeys courting this spring. Our local flock has really grown over the years. They will be nesting soon in nests made on the ground, hiding their nests in tall grasses and scrub thickets.  That’s something else to watch for.

Rio Grande Turkeys - Toms showing off for the hen; Photo by B.LaVergne, March 2013
Rio Grande Turkeys – Toms showing off for the hen; Photo by B.LaVergne, March 2013

My last comment would be for those who feed supplemental protein. You might consider continuing feeding for another couple of months.  Right now, there is plenty of natural forage available for the deer but demands are high for a lactating doe.  A doe will pass on any protein she takes in to her fawn(s).  A little boost now could help them get thru the dry time of summer.

Enjoy your spring.

Jack Jetton
ORWMA Deer Group Committee Chairman

Whitetail Fawn still wet from birth; Photo by B.LaVergne, Spring 2007.
Whitetail Fawn still wet from birth; Photo by B.LaVergne, Spring 2007.

[click on any picture on this website to enlarge.]