Nesting Birds of a Tropical Frontier: The Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas

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Texas A&M University Press, Oct 6, 2005 - Nature - 245 pages
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The story behind the birds everyone wants to see

Halfway between Dallas and Mexico City, along the last few hundred miles of the Rio Grande, lies a subtropical outpost where people come from all over the world to see birds. Located between the temperate north and the tropic south, with desert to the west and ocean to the east, the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas provides habitat for a variety of birds seen nowhere else in the United States. If you want to see a Hooked-billed Kite, Muscovy Duck, or Altamira Oriole, this is the place.

Drawing on years of personal observation and study, Timothy Brush has written a classic work of natural history about the little-known breeding bird communities of the Valley and the diversity of nesting strategies and behaviors that can be seen. Brush estimates that there are more than 150 current breeding species in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. In Nesting Birds of a Tropical Frontier, he describes the habits, distribution, changes in occurrence, and general outlook of these as well as former breeders, concentrating on Valley specialties and other birds of particular interest in the Valley.

The species are all dependent upon appropriate habitat, from riparian forest to mesquite savannah, and Brush describes the history of these habitats and the special features that keep the birds coming. He also discusses conservation and the need for both large-scale land acquisitions by public and private groups and small-scale restoration through urban parks and individual landscaping.

Art by Gerald Sneed and color photographs by several of Texas’ top nature photographers show off some of the Valley’s famous birds. Historical maps of vegetation and geology help us gain a better perspective on the changes that have taken place along the Rio Grande and on the breeding bird communities of the U.S.–Mexico frontier.


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This book is a detailed and loving treatment by a Lower Rio Grande Valley resident with his finger on the pulse of the varied bird life down there. Any birder interested in this special birding zone should check out Timothy Brush's book. I have mine on my shelf nearby, so I can fondly remember trips past to the Valley, and to give context when I plan my future adventures there. --Howard Youth 


The Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas
Ecological Diversity and History
Habitats and Birds of the Valley
The Spectacular Annual Cycle
Breeding Birds of the Valley
Species Accounts and Summaries
Concluding Remarks

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Page 216 - JOHN. Illustrations of the birds of California, Texas, Oregon, British and Russian America. Intended to contain descriptions and figures of all North American birds not given by former American authors, and a general synopsis of North American ornithology.
Page xiv - The love of the Father and the Son in the unity of the Holy Spirit is the source and goal of the unity which the triune God wills for all men and creation. We believe that we share in this unity in the Church of Jesus Christ, who is before all things and in whom all things hold together. In him alone, given by the Father to be Head of the Body, the Church has its true unity. The reality of this unity was manifest at Pentecost in the gift of the Holy Spirit, through whom we know in this present age...
Page 217 - R. (1991) Howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata), dung beetles (Scarabaeidae) and seed dispersal: ecological interactions in the tropical rain forest of Los Tuxtlas, Mexico. Journal of Tropical Ecology 7, 459-474.

About the author (2005)

Timothy Brush is an associate professor of biology at the University of Texas–Pan American in Edinburg. He has been observing, studying, and writing about the birds of the Lower Rio Grande Valley for over a decade.

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