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Book Review: Attracting Birds in the Texas Hill Country

    Originally published in the 2017 Texas Birds Annual “Attracting Birds in the Texas Hill Country” is first and foremost a habitat management tool. However, being well suited to those that own and manage land for wildlife benefits, this book will also interest those readers interested in birding, natural history, and landscape ecology. This isn’t to say that it …

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Our Children are the Guardians of the Land

I was recently interviewed for a local news channel where the reporter asked me, “What should people do to help Hill Country Conservancy preserve land, water and wildlife?” To me, the answer was obvious, but I didn’t have the opportunity to really flesh it out at the time. My answer is that people need to get kids outdoors and teach …

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New Permanent Conservation Property: Lazy Bend Ranch

Since then, they have invested heavily in improving the land through selective habitat management and overseeding with native grasses and wildflowers. Today, thanks to more than two decades of stewardship by the landowners, it boasts a wide variety of native wildlife including imperiled birds such as Painted Bunting, Lark Sparrow, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, and Northern Bobwhite. The land also …

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Game Cameras: A tool to monitor diversity

Game cameras are an increasingly useful tool for landowners and managers. I have always enjoyed reviewing photos as landowners excitedly point out the “shooter” bucks visiting their feeders. I even share their concern and frustration when the camera captures a sounder of feral pigs hogging all the feed or rooting up a freshly laid food plot. These scenarios illustrate a …

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Fulfilling Our Promise to Future Generations

Many people know that the Hill Country Conservancy protects water, wildlife and working lands in partnership with private landowners, frequently using conservation easements. However, we are frequently asked what happens after a conservation easement is in place. Do we simply walk away, knowing that our job is done and the land will forever remain intact and healthy? Or, is there more that needs to be done to ensure that the land is truly conserved, forever?

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Now’s the time to sow your seed

March 10, 2017 Big Bluestem, Indiangrass, and Little Bluestem are three of the four tall grasses of the Great Plains. The fourth, not pictured, is Switchgrass. Big Bluestem, Indiangrass, and Little Bluestem are three of the four tall grasses of the Great Plains. The fourth, not pictured, is Switchgrass. Every landowner has areas of land they are looking to improve. …

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Concerns about New Feral Hog Toxicant

Earlier this year, the EPA registered the warfarin-based Kaput Feral Hog Bait as a general use pesticide. Its label requirements include specific feeder designs to restrict access by non-target wildlife and disposal by burial of exposed carcasses. Last month, the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) adopted emergency rules classifying the toxicant as a State-Limited-Use pesticide which would allow for its use by anyone holding or under the supervision of a Pesticide Applicator’s License.

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Appreciating Dark Skies

March 9, 2017 Spring is upon us. I see and hear many of the Hill Country’s heralds of spring; field Sparrows singing, redbud trees blooming, and frogs chorusing. It’s a great time to get outside and enjoy the gifts of nature. This weekend, I’m planning to enjoy the familiar songs of migratory birds and the fresh foliage during a quick …

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Conservation Easement Preview

HCC is working with numerous landowner partners on projects that will add to the fabric of Hill Country conservation. Working with our landowner partners, we carefully negotiate these projects to protect important conservation values and the public benefits they provide while preserving our landowner’s rights to ranching, farming, and traditional recreational uses. These deals are often complex and getting any …

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National Bird Day

Conservation benefits a variety of wildlife but today we celebrate birds. A recent conservation success involves the proposed delisting of Black-capped Vireo as an endangered species. Through partnerships involving private landowners, conservation organizations, agencies, and researchers we are closer to assuring that this charming songbird will be around in its natural setting for future generations. Delisting is the ultimate conservation …