Above, a painted bunting seen in Dripping Springs. Daily Record photo by Lance Winter
Feather-friendly designation makes Dripping Springs for the birds
Dripping Springs is for the birds. No, really.
Last week, the rapidly growing suburb in northwestern Hays County was one of three cities recognized for their efforts to ensure birds, wildlife and people thrive in their communities.
Audubon Texas and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), partners in the Bird City Texas initiative, were proud to announce that the City of Dripping Springs had received certification recognizing its efforts with a “Bird City Texas” designation.
To receive the special recognition Dripping Springs exhibited leadership in three categories: Community engagement, habitat protection and threat reduction.
“Achieving our Bird City Texas designation is a badge of honor that reflects the incredible work the city and its aviary enthusiast partners are doing in the community to support bird conservation, education, and outreach,” City of Dripping Springs Parks & Community Services Director Kelly Schmidt said in a statement. “Collectively, the Bird City collaborative body is beyond ecstatic at achieving this incredible honor and we are all looking forward to growing the field and moving the conservation meter while celebrating the birding world and community efforts for perpetuity.” Schmidt said organiza
Schmidt said organizations such as the Dripping Springs Birding Club, Texas Master Naturalists, Wild Birds Unlimited, and Destination Dripping Springs work hand in hand with the city to offer and showcase all there is to do and support for the bird conservation movement in Dripping Springs.
Pam Owens, President/ CEO of the Dripping Springs Visitors Bureau, also known as Destination Dripping Springs, said she never considered herself as a “birder” but now is one.
“I always knew there were birds near my home, but when I had to stay home during Covid I really began to watch and feed them,” she said. “I have a special love for cardinals and recently counted 18 pairs of them in my backyard. I can’t wait until the hummingbirds arrive.”
She said she never understood migration seasons and why certain birds were at her feeders and around Dripping Springs during different times of the year.
Above, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak seen in Dripping Springs. Daily Record photo by Lance Winter
“It’s because we’re in the center of migration paths twice a year. It has been exciting for Destination Dripping Springs to work alongside the city to receive the Bird City Texas designation and we’re proud of the award for all of us,” Owens added. “But the best part of this process personally is all that I’ve learned about birds, their habitats and how they make me happy when they’re at my feeders.”
Amanda Bustillos with Wild Birds Unlimited said they’d been working as part of the team to receive the certification for about three years.
“When I heard the big news, I literally stood on our kitchen table screaming and clapping at the top of my lungs,” Bustillos said. “I think I scared my kids to death and my husband asked if we had won a million dollars. I called a couple other members of our team that worked on the application, and we clapped and screamed together.”
Bustillos said it was an incredible and proud feeling knowing how much Dripping Springs deserves the honor.
“It’s truly a huge accomplishment for our entire town to celebrate,” she added. “There are so many folks here in Dripping Springs and the surrounding areas who do everything they can to take good care of the birds and it feels so good to celebrate this honor together.”
There have been eight communities in the three years of the program. These communities help their residents by preserving green spaces beneficial to birds and people alike. The Bird City Texas communities can leverage this designation in attracting more of the 2.2 million bird watchers in Texas, a major driver in the $1.8 billion economic impact from Texan wildlife viewing.
“Dripping Springs worked hard to attain the Bird City Texas certification. This was not their first application; they’ve applied in previous years,” according to Yvette Stewart, Community Outreach Coordinator for Audubon Texas. “The Dripping Springs collaborative body took the feedback from those previous applications very seriously and dedicated more time, energy, and effort into improving each criterion to meet the high standards of the program.”
Stewart said Dripping Springs clearly values birds, and understands how these magnificent, feathered friends work as an indicator of community and habitat health.
“Bird City Texas partners are thrilled at the dedication the Drippings Springs community has shown at creating a welcoming place for both birds and people,” she added.
The 3-year Bird City Texas certification for the community lasts through 2024.
For communities interested in applying for certification, the 2022 Bird City Texas application cycle begins in early summer. Visit www.birdcitytexas.org for more information on how to apply for certification.
For questions on the Bird City designation or for more information, please the Communications department at email@example.com or call the City at 512-858-4725.