Texas Parks and Wildlife - Houston Urban Wildlife

Texas Parks and Wildlife - Houston Urban Wildlife The Houston Urban Wildlife page is here to help inform the public about wildlife issues in the urban environment of Houston and the Upper Gulf Coast.
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Comment Guidelines: http://on.fb.me/cWf2LL COMMENT GUIDELINES You are encouraged to share your thoughts as they relate to the topic being discussed. We expect comments generally to be courteous. To that end, comments are reviewed according to the following guidelines. We reserve the discretion to remove comments that: - Contain obscene, indecent, or profane language; - Contain threats or defamatory statements; - Contain personal attacks or insulting statements directed toward an individual; - Contain hate speech directed at race, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, age, religion, or disability; or - Promote or endorse services or products; (Note that non-commercial links that are relevant to the topic or another comment are acceptable.) - Are unrelated to the topic being discussed; - Are of a repetitive or “spamming” nature (the same comment posted multiple times) The views expressed in comments reflect those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Texas Parks and Wildlife or the Texas state government.

Operating as usual

12/15/2020
Texas Wildlife Diversity Program - Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept

Houstonians, please take 15 minutes to watch BAYOU CITY, a new short film by our program, directed by Olivia Haun, about Houston's bayou ecosystem that is featured in this year's FREE Wild Film Tour. It's available to stream all December long via www.bit.ly/bayou_city.

Check out Bayou City, a new short film by our program that is featured in this year's FREE Wild Film Tour. It's available to stream all December long via www.bit.ly/bayou_city.

12/09/2020
Texas Wildlife Diversity Program - Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept

Our agency has 4 short films featured in this year’s FREE virtual Wild Film Tour that runs throughout the month of December, including our program's own film about Houston called BAYOU CITY. Watch now at: https://bit.ly/WildTexasFilmTour.

TPWD is excited to have 4 short films featured in this year’s FREE virtual Wild Texas Film Tour that runs throughout the month of December, including our program's own film, BAYOU CITY. Here's how to watch: https://bit.ly/WildTexasFilmTour. The Wild Film Tour showcases wildlife, adventure, and conservation stories from across Texas. Here's a preview:

10/02/2020
Houston Parks Board

Colonies of urban bats can be found in several of our bridges around the city including Waugh Bridge and Watonga Bridge. Check out this video put together by Houston Parks Board highlighting the colony of Mexican free-tailed bats and the prairie restoration being done along White Oak Bayou.

Have you seen the bats at Watonga Bridge yet? Every year between March-October, hundreds of Mexican Free-tailed bats emerge at sunset from their home under the Watonga Parkway Bridge. Free-tailed bats roost during the day and emerge at dusk.

The most impressive columns can be seen in August and September, when the young bats begin to join their mothers leaving the roost. Be sure to visit Watonga Parkway Park at sunset to witness this bat colony this month!

The Watonga Prairie Project is one of several ongoing Houston Parks Board restoration projects. Prairie habitat is extremely important to local wildlife and supports rainfall infiltration which reduces flooding. This restoration project supports the bat population by supplying a reliable food source. Our volunteers and staff work diligently to establish native plants.
The new multi-chamber bat box is mounted in the restored prairie to provide additional shelter. The open space of a prairie is an ideal location to allow bats to drop in and out like a natural roost and reduces their vulnerability to predators at night.

Watonga Parkway Park is located at 4100 Watonga Blvd, Houston, TX 77092, and parking is available in a parking lot on Watonga Blvd, just north of W 43rd St. For METRO, take bus route 23 and get off at Watonga Blvd & 43rd St or TC Jester Blvd and 43rd St.

Happy National Wildlife day! We’d like to celebrate by giving you a behind the scenes look into the urban wildlife resea...
09/04/2020

Happy National Wildlife day! We’d like to celebrate by giving you a behind the scenes look into the urban wildlife research done by our team.

We recently wrapped up summer field collection for our urban coyote diet project. Volunteers and researchers collected coyote scat samples from urban greenspaces across the Houston area. We then sat down and processed each sample, identifying bones, fur, fruits, and other materials that had been digested. Some interesting finds included a Northern Cardinal feather, insect exoskeletons, fishing line, and the jaw bone of a skunk seen in the last picture. Coyotes are a vital part of the ecosystem and it is important to understand how an urban environment influences their dietary habits. We can also compare our results to similar studies being done in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and other urban areas. In addition to scat collection, we set up game cameras to get some neat shots of our urban coyotes in the wild.

#urbanwildlife #htx #texaswildlife #NationalWildlifeDay

We had the pleasure of working with Dr. Dittmar on wildlife disease related issues in the Greater Houston area over his ...
08/12/2020

We had the pleasure of working with Dr. Dittmar on wildlife disease related issues in the Greater Houston area over his tenure with TPWD. Always the professional, Bob went above and beyond to assist with any issues we had. He will truly be missed.

On behalf of the Houston Urban Wildlife Office, we extend our thoughts and prayers to the families of these fine men. All of these men went above and beyond to help maintain and protect the wildlife and habitat they held dear.

https://www.facebook.com/texasparksandwildlife/posts/10157748966868693

Today we honor our colleagues who died in a helicopter crash on Saturday while conducting bighorn sheep aerial surveys in Brewster County. These men dedicated their careers to conserving Texas wildlife and their efforts will be felt for years to come. We welcome you to share your thoughts and memories.

We are deeply saddened by the loss of these three colleagues. Our condolences go out their families, friends, and every ...
08/10/2020
Texas Parks and Wildlife

We are deeply saddened by the loss of these three colleagues. Our condolences go out their families, friends, and every person that was influenced by their passion for wildlife.

We are devastated to report that 3 of our colleagues died in a helicopter crash yesterday while conducting aerial surveys for desert bighorn sheep on TPWD's Black Gap Wildlife Management Area in Brewster County. Here are the details: https://bit.ly/2PFzV9P

08/07/2020

Waugh Bridge Bat Emersion

08/03/2020

Alligators play an important role in aquatic ecosystems even in urban settings. They are top predators within our rivers, bayous, and lakes controlling populations of fish, turtles, and other prey species. They also create habitat for aquatic organisms by creating dens in the bank. This large male took a dive in the San Jacinto River outside of town to cool off from the Texas summer heat.

What do you do if you see an alligator in the Houston area?

• Leave it alone. When given their space, alligators are very rarely aggressive toward humans and will not pose a threat. Keeping a safe distance of at least 30 feet or more will reduce the risk of conflict keeping both the alligator and you safe.

• If you hook a gator fishing, the best thing to do is cut the line. Alligators have extremely strong stomach acid that can digest the hook without harming the animal.

• You should NEVER feed an alligator. This can condition the animal to human presence and result in up to a $500 fine.

• If you are unsure if the alligator is a threat or have questions call our office at (281) 456-7029 for guidance.

Return of the Endangereds — ABNC
07/30/2020
Return of the Endangereds — ABNC

Return of the Endangereds — ABNC

Armand Bayou Nature Center is a living museum, an island ecosystem located in the midst of one of America’s major metropolitan areas. We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.

Great article from Texas Monthly on the status of black bears in Texas! Once found across the state, black bears were al...
07/28/2020
Texas Monthly

Great article from Texas Monthly on the status of black bears in Texas! Once found across the state, black bears were almost completely wiped out in the early to mid-1900's. Since then, natural recolonization have allowed them to slowly move back into East Texas areas as well as habitats in far West Texas. You can help TPWD monitor the status of this threatened species by reporting any black bear sightings to your local TPWD biologist.

Yes, that viral video is cute. No, black bears aren't returning to Texas because of the pandemic.

Here's the real reason for their steady comeback:

Read more here about Alligator Snapping Turtles and the awesome work being done in Buffalo Bayou by our partners at TSA.
07/21/2020

Read more here about Alligator Snapping Turtles and the awesome work being done in Buffalo Bayou by our partners at TSA.

Macrochelys Monday!

Even as juveniles, the Alligator Snapping Turtle still has one menacing mug. This juvenile was recaptured by our TSA North American Freshwater Turtle Research Group last weekend as part of our ongoing research in southeast Texas.

Alligator Snapping Turtles (Macrochelys temminckii) are both predatory and opportunistic in their feeding habits. Like their cousin the Common Snapping Turtle, they are an important part of their aquatic ecosystem, cleaning it of dead animal matter, or carrion. In this day and age, however, these scavenging habits can be deadly.

Throughout their range, the most pervasive threat to Alligator Snapping Turtles is active or discarded fishing lines, hooks, and weights. These silent killers drown an untold number of turtles each year. In our research sites, dead snapping turtles are not an uncommon site.

You can help us continue our important research and conservation actions for the Alligator Snapping Turtle by becoming a TSA Donor today! http://bit.ly/DonateToTheTSA

Special thanks to Texas Parks and Wildlife, Memorial Park Conservancy, and Hess Corporation

Photo credit: Eric Munscher

07/21/2020

Lunchtime in East End Park makes for difficult social distancing.

A wasp (Family Vespidae), scarab beetle (Genus Melocanthon), and a House fly (Musca domestica) share the remains of a dragonfly on the trail.

#urbanwildlife #entymology #lunchtime #TexasWildlife #HTX

07/18/2020

Radio Telemetry in Buffalo Bayou

The diversity of snake species in the Bayou City makes it a great place to celebrate #WorldSnakeDay. Snakes play an impo...
07/16/2020

The diversity of snake species in the Bayou City makes it a great place to celebrate #WorldSnakeDay. Snakes play an important role as predators in ecosystems. They control populations of many other creatures that we consider pests and help to keep our environment healthy.

Species in order: Speckled Kingsnake, Red-bellied Mudsnake, Cottonmouth, Eastern Coachwip, Plain-bellied Watersnake. @ Houston, Texas

07/03/2020
How to Clean, Drain and Dry Your Boat

On this July 4th weekend remember to clean, drain, and dry your boat. Invasive species like zebra mussels and giant salvinia can be transported by boats and become a major problem in Texas lakes.

You have an important role to play in protecting the lakes we love from invasive species like giant salvinia and zebra mussels. They can hitch a ride on your...

Meet one of the more secretive inhabitants of Buffalo Bayou in Downtown Houston: the Alligator Snapping Turtle. Until re...
07/02/2020

Meet one of the more secretive inhabitants of Buffalo Bayou in Downtown Houston: the Alligator Snapping Turtle. Until recently, researchers knew very little about the size of this species’ population in bayou. Over the past four years, The TPWD Urban Wildlife office has supported the Turtle Survival Alliance with the capture of 82 alligator snapping turtles in Buffalo Bayou making Houston home to one of the largest urban population of Alligator Snapping Turtles in the United States! In 2018, ten of these turtles were equipped with radio transmitters to study their movement in the bayou system.

These amazing creatures play an important role in the food chain and contribute by keeping fish species populations at a healthy level. Recent research has also shown that these turtles rarely move across land and have a special genetic makeup depending on which watershed they live in. This makes our Buffalo Bayou population even more uniquely Houstonian. @ Buffalo Bayou

06/26/2020
Texas Nature Trackers - Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept Program

Texas Nature Trackers - Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept Program

Happy National Pollinator Week!🐝This little beauty (Family Andrenidae) was found grooming herself outside of Bastrop State Park in late May. Most bees we found with TPWD Invertebrate Biologist Ross Winton were COVERED in pollen, or “saddle bags” as he liked to call them. Any cool pollinator sightings this spring? Send them our way by tagging Texas Nature Trackers - Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept Program

#nationalpollinatorweek #saveourpollinators

Celebrating #TransformationTuesday during National Pollinators Week with one of the more popular native pollinators. Fem...
06/23/2020

Celebrating #TransformationTuesday during National Pollinators Week with one of the more popular native pollinators. Female monarch butterflies lay their eggs exclusively on the underside of milkweed plants. After hatching, the yellow, black, and white ringed caterpillars feed on the milkweed until they are ready to form the pupa. The pupa begins as a green chrysalis with black and gold spots but eventually darkens. In 10 to 14 days, the adult monarch emerges and begins to pollinate milkweed as well as verbena, asters, and other native flowering plants. There are several sources for native milkweed to put in your yard available in the Houston area.

Photo credits:
Billie Brinkley, Adrian Medellin (Instagram: @adrian_medellin_photography)

Happy National Pollinator's Week! The Houston area is full of important pollinators including bees, wasps, butterflies, ...
06/22/2020
Want more flowers? Plant for bees.

Happy National Pollinator's Week! The Houston area is full of important pollinators including bees, wasps, butterflies, and more. Check out this article about ways to help pollinators in your area, as well as learn more about the native wildlife that are keeping our gardens, yards, and landscapes alive.

Texas is home to 800 of North America’s 3,600 species of native bees. None make honey, but all make better flowers in your garden.

Texas Nature Trackers - Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept Program
06/22/2020

Texas Nature Trackers - Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept Program

This week is National Pollinator Week, a time for us to learn more about the important roles that pollinators play in the natural world -- including what they contribute to our existence. For example, it is well documented that approximately one in three mouthfuls of food and drink depend upon pollinators. During this week we will share daily images and perhaps a video or two of pollinators at work.

Also, we want to encourage you to get out in the field this week to document pollinators you see to our TNT Bees and Wasps of Texas Project: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/bees-and-wasps-of-texas.

Could your community be the next Bird City? Apply for the 2020 Bird City Texas Program, which certifies bird-friendly co...
06/17/2020

Could your community be the next Bird City? Apply for the 2020 Bird City Texas Program, which certifies bird-friendly communities around the state. Application deadline is December 4. Details at https://bit.ly/BirdCityTx

with Audubon Texas

Central TX Urban Wildlife - Texas Parks and Wildlife
06/16/2020

Central TX Urban Wildlife - Texas Parks and Wildlife

Here's some exciting new research by the students of Huston-Tillotson University in Austin: Students are trying to find out whether toxins used to control rodents are getting into the bodies of urban coyotes. Catching coyotes is hard work! TPWD is proud to support your research.

One of the projects we are currently working on is studying the diet of urban coyotes in the Houston area. This article ...
06/10/2020
10 Fascinating Facts About Urban Coyotes – Urban Coyote Initiative, LLC

One of the projects we are currently working on is studying the diet of urban coyotes in the Houston area. This article illustrates what makes coyotes such an interesting urban species while debunking some common myths about these animals.

© Jaymi Heimbuch / Urban Coyote Initiative 10 FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT URBAN COYOTES Urban coyotes are present in practically every city across the United States. For many cities, the appearance of coyotes has happened only within the last few decades, and residents are still trying to get used to t...

Think you've seen a "murder hornet" in Houston? Fortunately, there are no Asian giant hornets ("murder hornets") reporte...
06/08/2020
The Texas-sized cicada killer - Insects in the City

Think you've seen a "murder hornet" in Houston?
Fortunately, there are no Asian giant hornets ("murder hornets") reported in Texas at this time. What you most likely saw was a cicada killer wasp. Theses large wasps are typically one and a half to two inches long. They are rarely aggressive and act as a beneficial pollinator as they mainly feed on nectar, only preying on cicadas to create a food source for developing young.

(Last Updated On: July 22, 2016)One of the signs of summer in Texas, and throughout the eastern U.S., is the cicada killer. Over the past month or two you may have noticed dime-sized holes appearing in your yard or garden. While many insects (beetles and ants, for example) dig holes, few are so cons...

"The biggest thing that we want people to see is that nature is for everyone, outdoor spaces are for everyone. Nature is...
06/06/2020
These Black nature lovers are busting stereotypes, one cool bird at a time

"The biggest thing that we want people to see is that nature is for everyone, outdoor spaces are for everyone. Nature is for everyone." This quote comes from Alex Troutman, a wildlife biologist that worked in Corpus Chirsiti, Texas.

Black scientists are showcasing Black achievement — with birds

During to the recent pandemic and long before that, bats species have often been seen in a negative context. However, ba...
06/02/2020
Bats Are Not Our Enemies

During to the recent pandemic and long before that, bats species have often been seen in a negative context. However, bats are extremely important, especially in Texas, for maintaining our ecosystems, agricultural practices,and even our health.

The viruses they carry spill over into humans mostly when we encroach on their territory or drag them into ours—and bats do great good as well

With all the press about "murder hornets" this is an appropriate post.
05/06/2020
"Murder" Hornets? Not in Texas!

With all the press about "murder hornets" this is an appropriate post.

I'm very much cringing at the term "Murder Hornet" that has been sensationalized all over the media lately. It's akin to calling Africanize...

05/03/2020
Anole Territorial Dispute

Apparently, these guys didn't get the memo on social distancing...

Here we see 2 male green anoles (Anolis carolinensis) getting into a skirmish to see who is going to be ruler of this territory.

The size of a green anoles territory is dependent on it's size. The larger the male...the larger the territory. On average, their territorial range can be from 50 - 100 square meters.

Texas Nature Trackers - Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept Program
04/24/2020

Texas Nature Trackers - Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept Program

The 2020 #CityNatureChallenge finally begins today! Because we can’t be together this year, we are asking y’all to share with us what you’re finding in YOUR neighborhoods!
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1. Post a photo/video on Facebook, Instagram, and/or FB/IG stories. This post should be about how you are engaging with nature close to home during this CNC.
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2. Use hashtag #yardchallenge; you can also use hashtags #CityNatureChallenge and/or #CNC2020
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3. Tag @texasnaturetrackers in your post.
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4. Tag 3-5 other friends and challenge them to post about their neighborhood nature/CNC experience!
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We hope this campaign will encourage others across the state and globe to get out and find what’s been hiding right under their nose all along!
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Most importantly, we are stressing that all participants strictly adhere to federal, state, and local public health guidelines as they are updated in real time in response to COVID-19. Please do what you can to make sure you adhere to these guidelines during the event.
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#yardchallenge #citynaturechallenge #cnc2020 #neighborhoodnature #backyardchallenge #whatsinyourbackyard #inaturalist #communityscience

Address

14320 Garrett Rd
Houston, TX
77044

General information

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Urban Biologists are here to help an ever increasing urban public understand and acknowledge the benefits of the natural and cultural resources of Texas and to provide hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

Opening Hours

Monday 08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 08:00 - 17:00
Thursday 08:00 - 17:00
Friday 08:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(281) 456-7029

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Wildscapes Workshop (https://npsot.org/wp/houston/event-overview/wildscapes-workshop/ ) posted an updated PLANT LIST with more species and higher availability numbers and updated BOOK LIST with lower prices! Not too late to register to get earlybird shopping. Wildscapes STARTS TONIGHT at 7:00 pm with Ben Pfeiffer on Fireflies. Although following talks will be recorded, this one will not be recorded for later viewing. Go to the Wildscapes website to register. Also on https://www.facebook.com/NativePlantsHOU/ events.
Hello everyone! I'm a design student looking to gain insight on your personal outdoor experiences through a short questionnaire. If you are interested, please comment below and I will send you the file Thank You in advanced for your participation.
Hello everyone! I'm a design student looking to gain insight on your personal bike experiences through a short questionnaire. If you are interested, please comment below and I will send you the file. Thank You in advanced for your participation.
TEXAS CWD TSE PRION 16 MORE CASES DETECTED TOTAL TO DATE 117 CONFIRMED NEW 14 BREEDERS 2 FREE RANGE 2018 8/2/2018 Free Range El Paso Mule Deer M 3 2018 7/3/2018 Free Range Hartley white-tailed deer M 2.5 2018 6/13/2018 Breeder Deer Uvalde Facility #3 white-tailed deer M 3 2018 6/13/2018 Breeder Deer Uvalde Facility #3 white-tailed deer M 3 2018 6/13/2018 Breeder Deer Uvalde Facility #3 white-tailed deer M 3 2018 6/13/2018 Breeder Deer Uvalde Facility #3 white-tailed deer M 3 2018 6/13/2018 Breeder Deer Uvalde Facility #3 white-tailed deer F 9 2018 6/13/2018 Breeder Deer Uvalde Facility #3 white-tailed deer F 5 2018 6/13/2018 Breeder Deer Uvalde Facility #3 white-tailed deer F 4 2018 6/13/2018 Breeder Deer Uvalde Facility #3 white-tailed deer F 3 2018 6/13/2018 Breeder Deer Uvalde Facility #3 white-tailed deer F 6 2018 6/13/2018 Breeder Deer Uvalde Facility #3 white-tailed deer F 4 2018 6/13/2018 Breeder Deer Uvalde Facility #3 white-tailed deer F 2 2018 6/13/2018 Breeder Deer Uvalde Facility #3 white-tailed deer F 4 2018 6/13/2018 Breeder Deer Uvalde Facility #3 white-tailed deer F
We are having an abnormal problem in the Memorial Area with Coyotes eating small dogs/cats, jumping fences to get to dogs with people (notice I didn't say a person) at close distance. This has become a concern for small children. I am aware and respect that coyotes are an important part of our ecosystem on the bayous, but there has been a drastic change in that eco system. There is an obvious depletion of their food source to cause them to come close to people with no fear, jump fences with multiple dogs, hunting in pack(s) for food where people are of no consequence. Small children are at risk. There is no differentiating between a small to medium size dog, a baby in a carrier, a 1-2 year old child. Being raised in the country, I have a great respect for these amazing creatures and understand the need for their existence. In rural areas when their population becomes to large, they have difficulty finding food and make no distinction between their prey(farm animals are in abundance). In those times we would have trappers come and help control the population, relocating them to other areas where food sources are in abundance. Help protect our coyotes, our children and our pets by getting trappers in here before something more terrible than our pets being eaten occurs. If you have email addresses that the community can express their need for help, I can pass along to our NextDoor community. Please know that I am fully aware(as many are) that our tax dollars pay for Texas Parks and Wildlife to protect not only the Texas Wildlife, but also the people that are endangered by them. I expect that this kind request will be taken seriously. Attacks on people with Texas Parks and Wildlife's knowledge of this problem could escalate the natural eco system in Houston that we hold so precious. Thank you, Toni Bradshaw
Thanks to Diana Foss for giving me some great information about the Waugh Bridge Bat Colony. We went tonight and the bats emerged about 7:20pm (sunset was 7:30 but it was overcast). From what I have read and seen In the news, Harvey did impact the colony from its peak estimated at about 300,000 bats. The current estimate is about 100,000 bats. The bats emerged in several waves one after the other lasting for at least 15-20 minutes before it got too dark to really see them well. There was also a hawk trying to catch the bats, but while we were there the hawk didn’t have any luck. This was our first time to see the bats and we were not disappointed. The picture is a view from Waugh Drive bridge looking East (the direction the bats emerge).
If your looking for a fun family friendly event in November, then please consider volunteering to help beautify Houston along the parks and trail systems. On Saturday, November 4th is the Annual LBJ Wildflower seed spreading day at various locations. Please click on the link below and find a place to volunteer. All you need is good shoes, comfortable clothes, and a cup of seed (this will be provided). Help the Houston Parks Board and the City of Houston Parks & Recreation provide pollinator habitat and seasonal wildflowers.