Bird Watchers flock to Big Thicket National Preserve

Bird watching is big business. Watching birds is also lots of fun. We are right in the middle of things in the Big Thicket of East Texas. No other state or country in the world can make that claim.

If you drive an hour in any direction from Silsbee and do this each season of the year, you could possibly see 75 percent to 85 percent of the bird species of North America. Birders around the world know this and along with 500 (plus) different birds you may spot in the woods or in the marshes, you may meet kindred souls from many countries such as Australia, England and Japan. Unique, enriching, fulfilling, what more can we say?

Almost any direction you chose to go look you would find the very rare and interesting Red Cockaded Woodpecker. The Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation, Boykin Springs and sections of the Big Thicket have active colonies.

Have you ever heard of the Bachman’s Sparrow? There are some not more than five miles from our home. A couple from California read about them in a national magazine and one day we met at that point. We not only saw the sparrows, but found some good friends as well.

Joy does not come from seeing only the rare bird species.There is equally as much pleasure in attracting beautiful cardinals, blue jays and goldfinches to your own backyard with feed and water. I’ve seen 56 different species in my backyard during the last five years.

Since 1988 Wildwood has had one of the most active bird clubs in the area. If you want to learn more about birds, how to attract them to your yard and how many of them are becoming endangered, come join us on the fourth Saturday of every month at 10 a.m. at the Wildwood Lodge. (North of Kountze on Hwy. 69) Just tell the gate attendant you are a “birder” and they will welcome you. If you don’t see any birds you can have fun watching the bird watchers.

Wildwood also has one of three registered Bluebird Trails of Texas. Visit us from April through June to see first hand and at close range, the complete life story of the Eastern Bluebird. Children especially enjoy this and are welcome.

There are 63 million birdwatchers in America today. These include former President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter, doctors, teachers, senior citizens and children. Can that many people be wrong? It is easy to learn their secret, just get with it yourself.