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Birdlife of Houston, Galveston, and the Upper Texas Coast

By Ted L. Eubanks Jr., Robert A. Behrstock, and Ron J. Weeks; Foreword by Victor Emanuel

Publication Year: 2006

In the last thirty years, the Upper Texas Coast has become a “must go” destination for birders around the globe. This book will serve as an essential companion to the customary field guide and pair of binoculars for all visitors to Houston, High Island, Galveston, Freeport, or any of the area’s other exciting birding spots. It also places the birdlife of the region, a seven-county area with a larger bird list than forty-three states, into historical and ecological contexts. Authors Eubanks, Behrstock, and Weeks—all recognized authorities on the migrant and resident birds of this region—present a thorough introduction to the area’s history, physiography, and avifauna. Then, in generous discussions of bird families and species, they synthesize years of records, tracking the comings and goings of more than 480 birds and incorporating their own lifetimes of experience to create an “ornithological mosaic” of lasting significance.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Foreword

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pp. vii-viii

At the age of eight, when I became interested in birds and nature, I was living near downtown Houston. I soon met consummate naturalists such as Joe Heiser and Armand Yramategui. They became my mentors. Over the next thirty years I spent many happy days in the field on the Upper Texas Coast, and I have ...

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Preface

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pp. ix-x

Birders have access to many excellent field guides that assist with bird identification. Because of their broad audience and short species accounts, such guides are generally limited to a few illustrations, identification tips, and brief statements concerning the bird's biology and range. As most birders' interests ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

Ted Eubanks would like to thank his parents,Ted and Mary, for providing the spark, and his wife, Virginia, for allowing the spark to glow for so many years. Bob Behrstock is grateful to his parents Jerome and Salli for encouraging his natural history pursuits from early childhood. He also recognizes Ben and...

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History

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pp. 1-3

John James Audubon, the fountainhead from whom so much of America's ornithological knowledge flows, visited the Upper Texas Coast (UTC) in 1837. A fledgling republic but a year old, Texas seduced Audubon not only with its promise of wildlife yet unnamed (he did find a new species of rattlesnake) but ...

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Geology, Climate, and Habitats

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pp. 4-15

The Upper Texas Coast exists as a discrete entity only in a geopolitical sense, extending from the Sabine River at the Texas-Louisiana border south to the western edge of Brazoria County. As we define it, the region comprises seven counties: Jefferson, Chambers, Galveston, Harris, Waller, Brazoria, and Fort Bend. The ...

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Diversity

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pp. 16-17

Because of the UTC's geological heritage, it lacks many substrate types and elevational features that are known for their special bird assemblages - there are no talus slopes, mesas, volcanic islands, on- or off-shore nesting cliffs, brushy slopes, or rain-shadow deserts. The UTC's latitude precludes rain forest, tundra, ...

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Nesting and Migration

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pp. 18-27

The eradication of bottomland hardwood forests has doubtless diminished the breeding populations of many Neotropical migrants. Deep forest birds such as Wood Thrush, Red-eyed Vireo, Hooded Warbler, and Summer Tanager have declined in numbers proportionate to the loss of mature bottomland forests....

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Exotic and Detrimental Species

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p. 28-28

A factor in the decrease of locally nesting Neotropical birds is the introduction of exotic species. Such birds compete for resources such as food and nest sites and may spread avian diseases. The well-known European Starling has effectively displaced many native cavity-nesting birds. In much of the country, starlings ...

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Hazards for Birds

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pp. 29-31

The greatest negative influence upon the UTC's native ecology has been explosive human population growth that began in the mid-1800s. Table 6 dramatically illustrates population change that occurred on the UTC during a single century. ...

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Format of the Species Accounts

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pp. 32-33

Common and scientific names and the order of the species accounts conform to the seventh edition of the A.O.U. Check-list of North American Birds (American Ornithologists' Union 1998) and recent supplements (Banks et al.2002,2004). One exception is the White-chinned Petrel, which occurs in the main body ...

Abbreviations Used in the Text [Contains Color Plates]

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p. 34-34

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Species Accounts

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pp. 35-268

Forty-two species of ducks, geese, and swans have occurred on the UTC's many marine and aquatic habitats, ranking these birds as one of the region's best-represented groups. Although waterfowl are diverse and plentiful during much of the year, only a few are permanent residents. The balance visit from the prairie ...

Appendix 1. Birding and Environmental Organizations on the Upper Texas Coast

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p. 269-269

Appendix 2. Plants Mentioned in the Text

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pp. 270-272

Bibliography

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pp. 273-278

Index

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pp. 279-287


E-ISBN-13: 9781603445306
E-ISBN-10: 1603445307
Print-ISBN-13: 9781585445103
Print-ISBN-10: 158544510X

Page Count: 328
Illustrations: 50 color, 1 b&w photos. 3 maps. 16 tables. Bib. Index.
Publication Year: 2006

Series Title: Gulf Coast Books Series, sponsored by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Birds -- Texas -- Houston Region.
  • Birds -- Texas -- Gulf Coast.
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