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      The Nature Report: Magic Valley

      If you want to see a tropical Altamira oriole, a rare cat-keyed snake, a shimmering malachite butterfly or perhaps an endangered ocelot, then the Rio Grande Valley is theplace. Deep South Texas is a magical location and home to a fascinating diversity of wildlife from subtropical birds and colorful butterflies to majestic whitetail deer. There are an astonishing 1,200 types of plants as well as 700-plus vertebrate creatures including 520 species of birds and 330 kinds of butterflies and counting. Land developers in the early 1900 TMs dubbed the region the Magic Valley in hopes of enticing buyers to the rich farmland along the Rio Grande.

      While the Rio Grande Valley is not a valley, but actually a delta or floodplain, there is still plenty of magic in the region. And the secret to this magically diverse wildlife is a unique blend of subtropical, temperate, coastal and arid habitats encompassing eleven different biological communities from the arid chaparral of Starr County to the beaches of South Padre Island. Riparian river woodlands along the banks of the Rio Grande are home to one of the rarest birds in the United States the diminutive rose-throated becard. West of the river in the sandy soiled ranch land, Texas horned lizards thrive in the arid landscape, while along the coastal grasslands aplomado falcons nest in thorny yuccas. And it is the Valley TMs incredibly diverse habitat that makes this magic all possible.