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Bird Surveys

Hogg Bird Sanctuary

Upcoming Survey: Saturday, October 21

Leader: Cin-Ty Lee

We are conducting a monthly survey at Hogg Bird Sanctuary. Surveys are normally scheduled for the third Saturday of the month. The Hogg Bird Sanctuary is adjacent to Bayou Bend and shares its parking facility at 1 Westcott Street. Meet at the parking lot at the dead end on the south end of Westcott Street. We meet at 7:30 AM in the parking lot. If the gate is locked, we can park in the upper parking lot and then walk down to the lower parking lot to meet. Everyone is welcome. Beginners, experts, or even if you're just curious. Winter birds should just be arriving.  Fall migrants are winding down, but you never know what one might see or hear.  During our last trip, we had Eastern Kingbirds, Baltimore Orioles, Dickcissel, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Eastern Wood Pewee.

Latest Report: September 23

Claire Caudill joined me for the relaunch of the survey.  The gate is still closed and the trail to the bayou itself is technically closed. However, we were able to wind our way through the overgrown trail to the bluffs, overlooking the River Oaks Golf Course.  We also checked the upper terrace. All in all, it was actually quite a productive day.  We had 31 species of birds seen or heard. Highlights included a Belted Kingfisher on the bayou, 1 Eastern Wood-Pewee, 2 Eastern Kingbirds, a White-eyed Vireo, 2 Wilson's Warblers, a calling Yellow-breasted Chat just before 730 AM, an Orchard Oriole, a Baltimore Oriole, a hidden but calling Indigo Bunting and 2 Dickcissels flying over. 
-- Cin-Ty Lee

New Leadership for the Hogg Sanctuary Bird Survey

We are very sorry to share that Aaron Stoley, long-time Houston Audubon volunteer and Hogg survey leader, has passed away. Aaron had recently retired from his bird survey responsibilities at Hogg. Aaron was one of those special, inspiring people that spent much of his time devoted to improving bird habitat over many years. He was known for his storytelling and for taking on any task required with great competence. He leaves a significant legacy, and many people have been moved by his kindness and commitment. 

We have transitioned the leadership of the Hogg Bird Sanctuary Monthly Bird Survey to Cin-Ty Lee. We could not be happier that Cin-Ty will take on this role because he is both an excellent birder and a patient teacher. Cin-Ty is a professor at Rice University, and is known in the community as a birder with a sensitive approach and great attention to detail. 

-- Sarah Flournoy, Bird-Friendly Communities Program Manager


About Hogg Bird Sanctuary

Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk

Photographed at Hogg Bird Sanctuary by Ben Hulsey

--by Aaron Stoley

The Hogg Bird Sanctuary is located at the south end of Westcott St., just off Memorial Dr. It is across Buffalo Bayou from River Oaks Golf Course. It shares the parking lot with Bayou Bend. It has been managed by Houston Parks and Recreation Department since its origin on October 21, 1958. The Hogg Bird Sanctuary is a special place, being a small natural area essentially unchanged by development. It is more a sanctuary than a park and contains no recreational equipment. It remains a natural area with many native plants. It also has quite a few non-native invasive plants. Efforts to control the invasives are continuing. For example, most of the large rain trees have been removed, but new growth trees continue to be a problem.

The First Monday Bird Survey began in 2010. At that time it was fairly difficult to get around in the area. Since then the Houston Parks and Recreation Department has continued to create and maintain a number of hiking trails, resulting in a much more accessible sanctuary. The bird population varies as seasons and weather change. The average number of species seen during a survey is 23. The total number of species recorded is over 60. Included are mostly local nesting species such as Northern Cardinal, Blue Jay, American Crow, Carolina Wren, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, White-winged Dove, Northern Mockingbird, Pileated, Downy, and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, to name a few. Because much of the boundary of the sanctuary is Buffalo Bayou, a few waterbirds have been recorded such as Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Wood Duck, Belted Kingfisher, two varieties of cormorants, etc. There have been a few migrants, but it is difficult to know if they will nest or move on to Minnesota or the Arctic. A nesting Red-shouldered Hawk was a favorite until the sycamore branch that held the nest broke.