SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Whether they’re just passing through to recuperate or have decided to make the area their home, hundreds of different types of birds can be spotted on the Island each season.

The SPI Birding and Nature Center will conduct a beginner birding program at 9 a.m. today, followed by a two-hour guided bird count on the boardwalk.

The center’s birding activities will be held in conjunction with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Global Big Day, a worldwide effort to record the largest number of bird species in a single day.

“It’s pretty amazing to see how much diversity actually comes through this area,” Birding and Nature Center Naturalist Educator Javier Gonzalez said. “We see more than 200 species of birds every year just in our 50 acres of wetland so it’s incredible.”

Worldwide more than 30,000 people participated in Global Big Day last year and recorded more than 7,000 species via a database app called eBird.

On the app, birders enter when, where and how they went birding.

Then, they fill out a checklist of all the birds they saw and heard while they were bird watching.

Managed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, eBird data has been used in conservation decisions, peer-reviewed papers, student projects and bird research.

According to the eBird website, Cameron County residents recorded 192 bird species last year and were the second highest grossing county in Texas.

Gonzalez said visitors might see late spring migratory birds such as scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings and painted buntings, and migratory shorebirds such as pectoral sandpipers.

Additionally, attendees might see some of the Island’s resident birds such as great blue herons, roseate spoonbills and clapper rails.

“The same species aren’t seen day after day,” Gonzalez explained. “Sometimes we have big surprises because it changes very much so it will be a very interesting.”


Birds attendees might see

• Scarlet tanagers

• Indigo buntings

• Painted buntings

• Pectoral sandpipers

• Great blue herons

• Roseate spoonbills

• Clapper rails


WHAT — Beginner birding program and boardwalk bird count

WHEN — Today, 9 a.m. to noon

WHERE — South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center, 6801 Padre Boulevard

DAILY ADMISSION — Adults $6, seniors 55 or older and students 13 to 18 years old $5, children four to 12 years old $3, four years old and younger free with paid adult