Frequently Asked Questions
- Is the sanctuary open?
- Are there guides and tours available at High Island?
- Do you have certain plants for sale?
- Can you help me identify a plant?
- Are the sanctuary trails wheelchair accessible?
- Can you help me identify a bird?
- How can I join a bird walk or get involved in birdwatching?
- Where can I go birdwatching?
- I’m interested in cleaning up trash at the sanctuaries – how can I help?
- Can I rent the cabin at Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary for a private event?
- Why is there an absence or reduction of birds in my area?
- I found a baby or injured bird. What can I do to help?
- Can you help remove a bird from inside a building?
- Are you able to take a captive/pet animal (turtles, ducks, etc)?
Is the sanctuary open?
Houston Audubon owns and manages 17 nature sanctuaries. Hours and visitor information can be found at https://houstonaudubon.org/sanctuaries/
Are there guides and tours available at High Island?
Depending on the state of COVID and other factors, bird walks may or may not be offered in Spring 2022. Either way, volunteers stationed throughout the sanctuaries will be available to assist with questions and bird identification. Outside of the spring migration (late March to early May) we do not have volunteers or guided walks.
Do you have certain plants for sale?
Houston Audubon’s Natives Nursery, located in the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary in West Houston, sells many different native plants. Visit the online shop to check our stock and make purchases for pick-up on Fridays at the Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Online shop: https://my-site-107999-109426.square.site/
Can you help me identify a plant?
Trees of Texas by Stan Tekiela. It’s a nice pocket-sized book with lots of species.
Wildflowers of Texas by Michael Eason. Not too large but packed full of info.
Other books collected by the Native Plant Society of Texas:
There are also a lot of great plant ID apps for your smartphone.
Seek is highly recommended for people who are just getting started. You take a picture of the plant and the app is typically able to identify it almost instantly. If you like to keep track of which plants you have seen and maybe the insects and other organisms, the full iNaturalist app is our top choice. It’s the more robust version of Seek, and if you can’t identify the plant on your own, you can add it to iNaturalist and a community of other users will help you ID it. Both apps are completely free, Seek doesn’t require you to create a login but iNaturalist does. You can access iNaturalist online as well at https://www.inaturalist.org/
Are the sanctuary trails wheelchair accessible?
Our new canopy walkway at Smith Oaks is ADA approved and a great way to get right up to overlook the rookery from the handicap-accessible parking area. It has numerous “landings” along the route to view warblers in the understory as well. As for the other trails, it really depends on the individual type of wheelchair user and chair. Our trails are maintained but are not paved, so can vary in width and type of terrain. In general, there are minimal elevation changes and there are boardwalks over the wettest areas, but they can still be muddy after rain and uneven in places.
Some trails at Edith Moore are accessible to many wheelchair users. Our trails vary from flat and sidewalk-width to quite bumpy, steep, and narrow in some spots. In a couple of places there are stairs which are not at all accessible by wheelchair. Most trails are dirt/mulch and may become quite muddy after rain. The few trails with brick are not side-walk smooth. Bridges and boardwalks are wide enough for wheelchair access, but older boardwalks may not be suitable for heavier chairs. We are happy to have you park in the Wilchester lot if appropriate parking is not available at the church parking lot. The parking lot is large, packed gravel.
Houston Audubon does not provide wheelchairs.
Can you help me identify a bird?
For help with bird identification, please send a photo of the bird with a brief description along with where you saw it to the email address email@example.com. If you don’t have a photo, please include as much detail as you can, such as the color, shape, and size of the bird, where you saw it, and when you saw it. On our website, houstonaudubon.org, in the Birding section, we have a bird gallery which includes pictures and information about the different species of birds likely to be found in the greater Houston Area. Information about exotic or invasive species can also be found on the website.
How can I join a bird walk or get involved in birdwatching?
Check out all of our upcoming events on our website: https://houstonaudubon.org/programs/calendar.html. From birding classes and bird walks to speaker events and community programs, there’s always something fun coming up (especially during spring and fall migration). You can also join one of our 14 monthly urban bird surveys (https://houstonaudubon.org/birding/bird-surveys/) or participate in a Christmas Bird Count: https://houstonaudubon.org/birding/christmas-bird-counts/. Click the survey you want to attend and the description will have the email address for who to contact. There is no cost or obligation, we just like to know who is coming so we can let everyone know in case we need to cancel for some reason. (Please bring water, snacks, a mask, and binoculars and field guide if you have them). Don’t forget to check out Houston Bird Week (https://houstonaudubon.org/programs/birdweek.html) in the fall for more birding opportunities!
Where can I go birdwatching?
Houston is a Bird City, so you can find birds just about anywhere. In addition to our sanctuaries, we have many resources on our website, including a handy list of nature areas on the upper Texas coast. Texas Parks and Wildlife also has some wonderful interactive maps of wildlife trails.
Website resources: https://houstonaudubon.org/birding/resources/
List of nature areas on the Upper Texas Coast: https://houstonaudubon.org/birding/resources/nature.html
TPWD interactive maps: https://tpwd.texas.gov/huntwild/wildlife/wildlife-trails/
I’m interested in cleaning up trash at the sanctuaries – how can I help?
We are always interested in help with trash pick-up! You can always bring a bag and pick up trash anytime you visit one of our sanctuaries. Group bookings for trash clean-ups can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also join an existing trash clean-up event – check out all volunteer opportunities here: https://houstonaudubon.org/ways-to-help/volunteer/
Can I rent the cabin at Edith L. Moore Nature Sanctuary for a private event?
Unfortunately, the cabin is not available for private bookings.
A number of factors can cause birds to be missing, including cats and other predators; changing food sources; migration patterns; weather and climate conditions; and localized disturbances. Click on the question for a PDF of more detailed information and steps you can take.
I found a baby or injured bird. What can I do to help?
If you have an injured or orphaned wild bird or animal, please contact one of the following licensed wildlife rehabilitators:
The Wildlife Center of Texas at 713.861.9453
Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition at 713.468.8972
Friends of Wildlife at 281.259.0039
Injured Birds Galveston County Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/234451576997435/
More information on how you can help can be found at https://houstonaudublog.blogspot.com/2021/02/i-found-baby-bird-now-what.html
Can you help remove a bird from inside a building?
We don't have the capacity to catch and relocate birds. Try contacting the Wildlife Center of Texas for advice: https://wildlifecenteroftexas.org
713-861-9453; email@example.com. It is hard to encourage birds to fly down to exit doors. Try turning off the lights in the evening before it is fully dark and leave the doors wide open (and obviously keep people away from that door). Birds will often fly to the light.
Are you able to take a captive/pet animal (turtles, ducks, etc)?
Captive animals cannot be released to the wild as they will not survive. They are pets and it is illegal to release domestic animals into the wild in Texas. We recommend you contact an animal shelter or rescue. For reptiles, you can try contacting Gina’s Heart of Gold (https://www.facebook.com/ginasheartofgoldreptilerescue/) or Texas Reptile Rescue (http://www.texasreptilerescue.com/).