Hagerman Adopt-a-Nestbox program helps Bluebirds

Hagerman Adopt-a-Nestbox program helps Bluebirds

By Wes Crawford, Friends of Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge

The Adopt-a-Nestbox program is a well-established volunteer activity of the Friends Of Haggerman.  In 2018,  31 volunteers monitored 52 nestboxes and some also helped with trail maintenance.  Due to these efforts, at least 200 birds safely fledged from our monitored nestboxes, including 148 Eastern Bluebirds, up from last year.

The Adopt-a-Nestbox program will begin again  on December 1st, when twenty of the refuge’s nestboxes will go up for adoption for a fee of $35. Those who adopt a box will be able to follow all the exciting happenings in their nestbox via an emailed weekly report, complete with pictures and information about the stages of development of the birds and babies inhabiting it throughout the season. Funds from the adopted nestboxes go toward maintaining all of the nestboxes on the refuge.

NestboxesOur nestbox monitors had their first meeting in late February, when they paired up and selected the trails they preferred to monitor. Each week a pair of monitors carefully open each box and note observations on the Cornell NestWatch data sheet. A volunteer specialist enters the data into the Cornell database for scientific monitoring and research, and another volunteer emails the reports, with pictures, of each nestbox’s progress to its adoptive owner in the adopt-a-nestbox program. Though each nestbox is checked weekly, each pair of monitors activates monthly, on a rotating schedule.

We are excited about our 2019 season because we will be working with an OU researcher to use a nestbox camera to monitor one of our boxes. We hope to be able to generate a video image of the happenings frominside the box. The video will be available for educational use for programs at the Refuge.

If you enjoy being outdoors, care about helping wildlife and want to get to see some of the beauty at HNWR, the NESTBOX TEAM is for you. Join us by contacting us via the FOH website, friendsofhagerman.com/Contact.

We wish to thank our team members for their help:
Dick Malnory, Ken Neuhard, Steve Keller, John Brennan, Susan Knowles, Bert Garcia, Sue Raasch, Walter Bryant, Don Lawrence, Ken Hildebrand, Trey Crosthwaite, Jerry Reid, Enid Kasper, Sharon Barker, Bill Nance, Kathy Nance, Larry Vargus, Wayne Meyer, Donna Rogers, Nana Rylander, Sue Abernathy, Cathy Van Bebber, Jim Russell, Teresa Crawford, Patricia Crain, Gene and Nancy Cushion.

We also thank Dick Malnory for fabricating box panel repairs.  A new addition to our program this year was a mowing team that helped the staff keep Harris Creek and Raasch trails mowed and vegetation clear from around the nestboxes. Our team consisted of Bert Garcia, Larry Vargus,
Don Lawrence, Gene Cushion, Alan Bosma, Jay McCurley, Stephen Walker, and Mike Grubb.

Texas Dove Season looks bright for season opener Sept 1

Texas Dove Season looks bright for season opener Sept 1

AUSTIN — Though Hurricane Harvey caused a significant drop in dove hunter effort and harvest numbers last year, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department expects the 2018-19 season to be back to normal. In Texas terms, normal means exceptional.

Opening day of dove hunting is Saturday, Sept. 1 statewide. For the third consecutive year, Texas dove hunters can look forward to a liberal 90-day season and 15-bird daily bag limits.  In addition, hunters in Texas’ South Dove Zone have the opportunity to hunt every weekend in September thanks to the Special White-winged Dove Days Sept. 1, 2, 8, and 9, combined with a Sept. 14 zone opener, the earliest in half a century.  Though hunting hours are limited to afternoons during the Special White-winged Dove Days (noon-sunset), hunters in the southern portion of the state are now able to take advantage of the earlier dates in which the majority of dove harvest in Texas occurs.

Over 300,000 Texas hunters harvest nearly one third of the mourning doves taken nationwide each year, far more than any other state.  In recent years, an estimated 10 million doves are harvested in Texas annually.  While Texas supports breeding populations of over 34 million mourning and 10 million white-winged doves, those numbers swell during the fall when birds from northern latitudes funnel south.

“Texas is uniquely situated to catch a lot of migratory birds as they move through the central part of the continent.  Couple that with the fact that we are such a big state with diverse habitats, and it makes sense that we have such large numbers of doves,” said Owen Fitzsimmons, TPWD Dove Program Leader.

“Despite the dry conditions this summer, we had excellent production very early in the spring thanks to a mild winter and good rains in February and March, so there are a lot of birds around,” Fitzsimmons said.  “Unless we get significant rain in the next couple of weeks, hunters really need to key in on areas with water.  That’s where the birds will be concentrated.”

White-winged doves were historically found in the lower Rio Grande Valley, but they have rapidly expanded in numbers and distribution across Texas in recent years.  According to Fitzsimmons, white-wing populations continue to grow and are making up a larger percentage of daily bag limits state-wide.  White-wings are now found mostly in and around urban areas, providing hunting opportunity for those hunting just outside major cities and urban centers.

During the early two weekends for the Special White-winged Dove Days (in the South Zone), hunting is allowed only from noon to sunset and the daily bag limit is 15 birds, to include not more than two mourning doves and two white-tipped doves. During the general season in the South Zone, the aggregate bag limit is 15 with no more than two white-tipped doves.

Hunters are reminded that licenses went on sale Aug. 15 for the 2018-19 hunting seasons and can be purchased through the agency’s 28 law enforcement field offices, at more than 50 state parks and over 1,700 retailers across the state. Licenses may also be purchased online through the TPWD website or by phone at (800) 895-4248. Call center hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and there is a required $5 administrative fee for each phone or online transaction. The online transaction system is available 24/7.

Hunting and fishing regulations for the new season are available in the Outdoor Annual in print, online and on the Outdoor Annual mobile app. A limited number of Outdoor Annual booklets can be picked up at any of the 1,700 license retailers. A Spanish language version is also available online.

To get more information on Texas hunting and fishing throughout the year, sign up for free email updates at www.tpwd.texas.gov/email or by texting TPWD HUNT or TPWD FISH and your email address to 468-311 (ex. TPWD HUNT myemail@emailaddress.com).

In addition to a hunting license, anyone born after Sept. 1, 1971, must successfully complete a hunter education training course in order to hunt legally in Texas.  The TPWD Hunter Education certification is valid for life and is honored in all other states and provinces. More information about hunter education is available online. If you misplace your certification you can print a replacement online at no cost.

A Migratory Game Bird endorsement and Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification are also required to hunt dove. HIP certification involves a brief survey of previous year’s migratory bird hunting success and is conducted at the time licenses are purchased.

2018-19 Dove Season Calendar

North Zone: Sept. 1 – Nov. 4 and Dec. 21-Jan. 14, 2019.

Central Zone: Sept. 1 – Nov. 4 and Dec. 21-Jan. 14, 2019.

Special White-winged Dove Days (entire South Zone): Sept. 1-2, 8-9.

South Zone: Sept. 14 – Oct. 30 and Dec. 14 – Jan. 21, 2019.

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge 9th Annual Photography Contest

Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge 9th Annual Photography Contest

In order to increase awareness and appreciation of Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, the Friends of Hagerman
NWR is sponsoring a photography contest. Ribbons will be awarded for First, Second, and Third place in each of
four categories in 2 divisions. In addition, a cash prize will be awarded for First Place in each category and the
single photo judged as “Best of Show”. Winners will be determined by a panel of judges, who will review the
submitted photos without reference to entrant name.

Winners’ photographs will be displayed at the Refuge Visitor Center, and published on the Friends of Hagerman
web site.  The Friends of Hagerman Nature Photo Contest Committee will coordinate and conduct the contest for the
Refuge and Friends of Hagerman NWR.

Entries will be accepted from. Aug 1, 2018 through 4 pm, Aug 31, 2018. All entries including those sent by mail
must be RECEIVED at Hagerman NWR by the deadline. THERE WILL BE NO DEADLINE EXTENSION!

The contest is open to all photographers EXCEPT U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees and their immediate
families AND the Friends of Hagerman Board of Directors, including the Nature Photo Club leader and their
immediate families, who are not eligible.

All submitted images must have been taken within the boundaries of the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge
within the last five (5) calendar years (2014-2018). Furthermore, previous winning entries (First, Second or Third
Place in any category of previous Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge Photo Contests) are ineligible for entry.
Entry fee of $1 must be presented for each submission. Each entrant may submit as many images as desired in
any combination of categories for which they are eligible, but each image requires a separate $1 entry fee.

Submitted entries must be the original work of the photographer, and the photographer must own the copyright
to the image. The photographer retains the copyright of the submitted images, but must agree to allow the
Refuge to use and publish the submitted entries showing photographer credit without further compensation to
the copyright holder.

Photos that have been published for compensation or sold may not be submitted.
Submissions must be digital and must be submitted on a CD or DVD. Photos that were taken with a film camera
must be scanned to a digital JPEG format and submitted on a CD or DVD.
High-resolution JPEG images measuring at least 2000 pixels on the longest side may be burned on the same CD
or DVD or submitted on as many additional CDs or DVDs as needed. These will be used for judging and
publication/exhibition, if selected as a winner.

Each image file must be labeled with the photographer’s first and last name, image title and the category it is to
be entered in. For example: JohnSmith-Little blue heron-Wildlife.jpg. Photographer’s name will be removed
from the filename and replaced by a code prior to judging. Photographs where the image itself is labeled with a
watermark or copyright tag will be disqualified and will not be judged.

Each CD or DVD must bear the photographer’s name, phone number and e-mail address.
ALL PHOTOGRAPHS, except those submitted as Artistic, must accurately reflect the subject matter as it
appeared in the viewfinder. Photos that have been altered beyond standard dust removal, minimal cropping,
and correction will be disqualified. This includes the addition or deletion of any objects in the photos.

More information and rules on the Friends of Hagerman Website

2017 Photo Contest winners