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CNC 'going to the birds' this fall & winter

Special to the Courier

Migrating and resident birds that depend on Texas Hill Country habitat will be studied during upcoming programs sponsored by the nonprofit Cibolo Nature Center in Kendall County.
The so-called "little brown birds" that defy identification for many birdwatchers will be demystified during the "Winter Sparrows and Wrens" workshop from 9 am to noon, Saturday, Nov. 10. Experienced birders Tom and Patsy Inglet will review the numerous sparrows and wrens that can be seen in Hill Country grasslands. Intended for intermediate birders who want to become more proficient at field identification of winter sparrows and wrens, the workshop will include a classroom presentation and time in the field.
Participants will learn field identification points, including subtle differences in appearance and flight patterns, to distinguish savannah, vesper, grasshopper and Le Conte's sparrows as well as marsh and house wrens. The workshop also will prepare birders who would like to assist in the Cibolo Nature Center's Winter Prairie Bird Surveys beginning Dec. 2. The program costs $20, $15 for CNC members, and is free to those who sign up for prairie bird surveys. Register online at Cibolo.org/calendar.
Birders of all skill levels are invited to join the Inglets and Boerne Birders for a free bird walk and monthly census from 8 am to 10 am, Saturday, Nov. 17. Participants are asked to bring binoculars and a bird field guide to look for birds in the CNC's nature preserve, which includes marsh, prairie, woodland and Cibolo Creek. Registration is not required.
Volunteer birders are asked to join a team of citizen scientists to survey prairie birds this winter at the Cibolo Nature Center as well as at the privately owned neighboring Cibolo Preserve. Winter Prairie Bird Surveys will take place from 9:30 am to 1 pm at the CNC on Dec. 2, Jan. 6 and Feb. 3 and on the Cibolo Preserve Dec. 6, Jan. 10 and Feb. 14.
Led by Rufus Stephens, Dave Bolster and Ray Kutzman, the surveys will focus on priority and indicator species that illustrate the health of the grasslands as habitat. Both experienced and inexperienced birders who want to contribute to ecological science and learn prairie bird survey techniques are invited to participate in this free event.
Those unfamiliar with Texas' "little brown birds" are encouraged to attend the Nov. 10 "Sparrows and Wrens" workshop, although attendance is not mandatory.
Registration is not required and birders are asked to meet at the CNC pavilion. Long pants and closed-toed shoes are highly recommended.
For more information, call 830-249-4616 or visit www.cibolo.org.