HLBWS features sparrow expert Dec. 7

Contributed/Greg Lasley

A Rufous-crowned sparrow sits on a branch. Byron Stone will talk about the whole range of 'little brown birds' tomorrow with the Highland Lakes Birding & Wildflower Society.




The Highland Lakes Birding and Wildflower Society (HLBW) will meet Thursday morning, Dec. 7, with snow birds in mind.

“Dr. Byron Stone, one of our favorite birding and field trip experts, is back,” said society member Margy Butler. “His presentations and field trips for the Highland Lakes Birding and Wildflower Society previously have dealt with the 'Big Birds', the raptors. But now we go on to another family of birds, those pesky 'Little Brown Birds', the sparrows, some of the wee small birds in our Hill Country bird lexicon.

“Doc's talk will feature the various species of sparrows who journey down to Central Texas in the winter, snow birds as it were.”

Butler said some might tend to undervalue the little brown birds, but not any who have birded on one of Stone's SparrowFests at the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, or attended one of his sparrow classes at Travis Audubon Society. As co-founder of the ever popular SparrowFest, held each mid-winter, he has helped many birders develop a strong appreciation for the over 20 species of the small aerial visitors that arrives each late fall to winter.

“Folks come from far and away these days to walk the grasslands and to learn from this inimitable and able instructor/leader about the distinguishing marks and behavioral patterns which determine whether it’s a Rufus Sparrow you’re looking at say, or a Chipping Sparrow,” said Butler. “Did you see that Savanna? There’s a Lincoln! Easy you say? Think again!

“Doc will be leading a Sparrow Field Trip for the HLBWS the day after his presentation to find and identify the inimitable sparrow. If you’re interested in joining in to learn some of the ins and outs of birding from this exceptional naturalist, be sure to come to the meeting on Dec. 7.

The HLBWS meets at the Marble Falls Library, 101 Main Street, first for that 8:30 a.m. bird walk. A meet-and-greet with goodies to eat starts at 9:30 a.m.; the meeting, at 10 a.m. and the program at 10:30 a.m., all in the library community room.

“All are welcome,” said Butler. “We hope to see you, and bring your friends along too.”

SparrowFest 2018 is slated for Saturday, Feb. 3, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Flying X Ranch near Bertram. Nineteen spaces are left and registration is available at friendsofbalcones.org.


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