Nine unique locations in the Rio Grande Valley make up the world birding center sites, and three of these outdoor destinations are state parks.
The largest of the parks is Brownsville's Resaca de la Palma, which encompasses some 1200 acres of subtropical forest. Pablo Yturbe says, Park Superintendent, "Being on a funnel between the Chihuahuan Desert and the Gulf of Mexico creates this climate that produces this subtropical forest, and you are not going to find it north from here." Long before the Valley was settled, the Rio Grande shaped the park with old meandering of the river known as resacas coiling thru the lush vegetation.
Stephanie Galla is the habitat conservation coordinator for the three Rio Grande Valley state parks, and she has documented a variety of rare creatures throughout the Valley and especially at Resaca de la Palmas riparian river woodlands. Stephanie Galla says, "And along with this habitat comes species that really reach their northern limits here. So, lets say if you were a bird counter in the United States this is the only place you could go to get hook-billed kites and white-tipped doves, green jays, Altamira orioles, great kiskadees. It is really a magical place in that sense. It is a little pocket of really diverse habitat." The park, with its verdant native habitat, attracts a variety of bird and butterfly species that don't venture much father north, like the shimmering blue metalmark and tropical jewel known as the Mexican blue wing. Galla, "It is kind of like a step back in time when you get to go into those woods. It's really magical to step back in there and take a look at how it used to be." With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore