About Birding the Border
Birding the Border takes place each spring in Val Verde and Kinney counties, Texas! This puts us in the middle of the Central Flyway and at the intersection of 3 different ecoregions, providing our participants with the opportunity to see a wide variety of birds in the borderlands of southwest Texas. We kick off our program with a Welcome Social at Val Verde Winery. Take this opportunity to meet the Birding the Border guides and birding buddies as well as your fellow birders while enjoying the beautiful atmosphere of the oldest bonded winery in Texas and a delicious taco bar! Over the next 3 days, you can travel through a wide variety of unique habitats in the Edwards Plateau, South Texas Plains, and the Chihuahuan Desert to find target species such as golden-cheeked warblers; black-capped vireos; Morelet’s seedeaters; varied, indigo, and painted buntings; and tropical parulas. We look forward to taking you to some of the best birding spots in Val Verde and Kinney counties, including public, private, and restricted access properties.
Trips: Each day, participants have the option to choose 1 of 5 locations to spend the morning birding with a professional guide and our local birding buddies. Trips are limited to 13 birders per a day and transportation and lunch are provided during each trip. There will also be a photography-focused trip each day, guided by Dr. Dorian Anderson. On these trips, participants will spend more time at bird blinds and unique birding photography spots, focusing on photos more than number of species. Photography-focused trips are limited to 8 participants per day.
All trips must have a minimum number of 8 participants registered. If a minimum of 8 participants is not met, participants will be asked to switch to another trip with availability. Photography-focused trips must have a minimum of 5 participants. Participants will not be refunded or charged the cost difference if minimum number is not met and participants are reassigned.
Birding with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Seminars: The heart of Extension is education! Through our Wildlife Specialists, we stay connected to bird-related research at Texas A&M University and other universities across the state, so we can provide our participants with seminars on a variety of brand-new bird studies. During the heat of the day on Friday, April 30 and Saturday, May 1, cool off in the Del Rio Civic Center while learning about birds from the experts! Speakers and topics will be announced soon.
Special Events: When you are Birding the Border, we want you to have some wonderful social opportunities to meet and mingle with other birders, our guides, and birding buddies!During Birding the Border 2021, we will be hosting:
- Welcome Social at Val Verde Winery
- Birds, Bats, and Owls Benefit Dinner at Kickapoo Caverns State Park
- Birding with Extension Dinner featuring guest speaker Dr. Dorian Anderson
- Birds and Beer with Birding Lotería at Mesquite Creek Outfitters
If you are a Master Naturalist, our educational seminars, birding trips, and some special events may count for Advanced Training! Click here to learn more.
About Birding with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
In 2017 Birding with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension was born when we (Emily!) had the crazy idea to load birders on a bus and highlight birding on private lands in Texas. While we did not end up getting on the bus, the idea evolved into our feature program, Birding the Border, and we spent 3 days with 16 birders learning and birding on private ranches in Kinney County. Since our first educational birding program we have worked to connect people to the land through the experience of birding, thus fostering an interest in conservation of natural resources.
As we have grown our program and expanded the educational opportunities that we offer, our goals have remained the same:
- Educate our landowners about some simple bird management strategies that they can implement on their property. We help them implement management that complements their agricultural practices to improve bird habitat for our feathered friends.
- Provide unique educational experiences for birders. During our programs we feature some of the best professional guides and AgriLife specialists who have a heart for education. To us, your entire experience is so important — not only do we want you to see some amazing birds, but when you are at a Birding with Extension program, we want to help you grow as a birder. Another aspect that we take great pride in is providing memorable social experiences for you to meet other birders, enjoy great food, and have a good time!
- Share the birding experience with all! We host both youth and beginner birder programs to educate others about birds and help foster the next generation of birders! Click here to check out all our current Birding with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service events.
We are excited to host Birding the Border 2021, however we understand that many people are concerned about travel due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Birding the Border will comply with all local, state, and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service guidelines and procedures to keep our participants safe and healthy. This is a fluid situation but some or all of the following COVID-19 prevention methods MAY be in place during Birding the Border 2021:
- 6-foot social distancing practices
- Face covering requirements
- COVID-19 screening forms & 14-day temperature log
- Participants may need to provide their own transportation to trips and socials
**If Birding the Border 2021 is cancelled for any reason, participants will receive a full refund.** All other refunds will be subject to the following policy:
- Cancellations made before February 1, 2021 will be refunded minus a $75 service fee.
- Cancellations made between February 2 and March 19, 2021 will be refunded half the purchase price.
- After March 20, 2021, there will be no refunds given.
- Schedule and locations are subject to change due to landowner access, birds, weather, and other factors that are out of our control. While we do our best to keep everything running as planned, no refunds will be given if we must change locations or schedules.