Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory

Celebrating 50 years of Birding!
October 8 - 11, 2009


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© Margie Crisp 2009

The AWU Center for Environmental Research and the Travis Audubon Society celebrated 50 years of birding at Hornsby Bend with four days of birding, workshops, presentations, and art - October 8-11, 2009.


Owl Workshop by Dr. Rob Fergus - two nights of Central Texas owl biology, nest box management, and owl prowls each night

Hornsby Bend 50 Years of Birding Celebration - Bird Survey, Birding Field Trips, Educational Displays, Silent Auction items, Afternoon Presentations on bird monitoring and wildlife photography, Evening Program "50 years of birds and birding at Hornsby Bend"

The Big Sit Bird Count
  • On Sunday October 11, 2009, 124 species of birds were counted by at least 50 observers.

Early History of Birding at Hornsby Bend
The first birders found the "Platt" ponds at Hornsby Bend in 1959. Rob Fergus gives this account in his 1999 thesis on birds of Hornsby Bend, "G. Frank 'Pancho' Oatman, a young birder from Austin who was visiting relatives in Del Valle for the Thanksgiving Holiday, noticed ducks flying across the Colorado River. Guessing that there must be ponds nearby, Pancho explored the area and became the first birdwatcher to discover the sewage facilities at Hornsby Bend. On his initial visit, Pancho spotted waterfowl in large numbers-unusual for the Austin area-including four female common goldeneyes and a single Bonaparte's gull-both firsts for Travis County. Pancho excitedly phoned other birders with his news. Local experts Edgar Kincaid and Fred Webster joined Pancho at the ponds the next day with John and Rose Ann Rowlett. The rare birds were still there. Oatman and the Rowletts visited the facility again on 27 November and discovered two additional Travis County firsts-a dunlin and two lapland longspurs."

Since those first visits in 1959, thousands of birders have visited Hornsby Bend. Come join us to celebrate the great tradition of birding at Hornsby Bend.



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Email: coordinator@hornsbybend.org
www.hornsbybend.org/50years.html (Last modified Feb-13-10)