Hogg Sanctuary Bird Sanctuary
Note: The Hogg Bird Sanctuary Survey is currently on hiatus.
About Hogg Bird Sanctuary
--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.