News Flash

Urban Biologist

Posted on: November 17, 2017

Birding in Dallas Parks

Ben Sandifer pelican

Fall is here and it is a great time to get outside and explore Dallas parks.

With over 300 properties within the Dallas Park and Recreation Department system, a wide variety habitats are available resulting in a wide variety of birds being observed.  Parks may include manicured parks  in Downtown Dallas and neighborhoods, to the prairies along White Rock Creek, the forest in the Trinity River bottoms, and the rocky outcropping throughout southwest Dallas.  


Bird migration is the result a combination of lots of factors, but in the end it is simply the birds making sure they have the resources to get through the winter. All the way up into Canada, the birds are happily eating and nesting, but the days start getting a little shorter (photoperiod) as Fall and Winter approach.  This triggers hormones in the body that get the birds to start eating more and building up energy reserves. As food resources start to decrease and/or the cold fronts start up, the birds start heading south. Being in the Central Flyway, many different bird species are going to travel through the Dallas area. Some of the birds are going to only stay temporarily, but others are going to stop and stay for the entire winter.


Pre-scouting websites like eBird and iNaturalist can teach you a lot about the birds coming to Dallas.  This can help you identify areas that get a variety of birds, or maybe specific species you might be looking for. Birds tend to follow corridors and look for habitat that looks familiar to them. For this reason, the White Rock Creek riparian corridor from Harry S. Moss Park down to Tenison Park is the main “hotspot” in Dallas (White Rock Creek Watershed). The area around White Rock Lake has a mix of manicured fields, native prairies and bottomland hardwood forests. As a result, nearly 300 species of birds have been recorded in the area. Some species you may encounter in and around White Rock Lake include several species of ducks, Bald Eagle, wintering sparrow species and more.  In the southeast area of Dallas, the Trinity River Audubon Center and Joppa Preserve are really good for a mix of water and forest bird species (both have over 200 species recorded). These are excellent areas to observe Pileated Woodpecker, Red-shouldered Hawk and a variety of wintering waterfowl. The south end of Crawford Memorial Park is an underutilized natural area with exciting potential for birds including several sparrow and warbler species.  In northwest Dallas, the recommended area to check out is California Crossing/L.B. Houston Nature Area  For a small area, Hines Park offers a wide variety of birds and has a new wetland observation deck and trail to observe birds from.  In southwest Dallas, Cedar Ridge Preserve is the main hotspot.  With the steep hills of the escarpment, this area is much different than most of Dallas.  The Kiest Conservation Area would be a viable alternative and has a newly reopened nature trail that provides good view points to see into the tree canopy.


The Dallas Park and Recreation Department utilizes information from both eBird and iNaturalist.  Please consider creating an account and sharing your observations.  Those observations help the department monitor the health of the local ecosystems.  We would love to have more Citizen Scientists out collecting data, especially at Kiest Conservation Area and Crawford Memorial Park.


If you are new to birding, find an experienced birder to partner up with.  Audubon Dallas hosts several field trips each year.  There are two field trips at White Rock Lake in the next month. For more information, visit Audubon Dallas Field Trips.

 

For more information on birds in Dallas or Dallas Park and Recreation Department conservation work, please visit the Urban Biologist website

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