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Aransas National Wildlife Refuge named top bird watching spot in nation

Posted at 6:33 PM, Jan 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-30 20:04:43-05

ARANSAS COUNTY, Texas — Have you ever been bird watching?

If you're interested, you're living in one of the hottest birding spots in the country.

USA Today Readers' Choice named Aransas National Wildlife Refuge a number one birding spot in the nation.

There you can see 400 different species of birds.

Aransas County has been on the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail because of its position on the Central Flyway Path for migratory birds.

"The continent narrows down. It sort of funnels the birds through those areas," Lillian Bass, birder for 36 years, said. "So they are more concentrated along the Gulf than they might be a little bit further north."

Lillian Bass -- who did her master thesis on Cardinals -- has been birding across the globe with her husband Paul for the past 36 years.

And still this area is one of their favorites.

"You gotta have some binoculars," she said. "Get a good book and you realize that it takes a lot of patience."

They said it gives them a sense of peace and accomplishment. Paul Bass said it's reassurance that another year has come.

"The world continues and life goes on," he said.

Those natural patterns keep going and the cycles continue, Lillian Bass said.

Paul Bass said the variety of different plants and insects in the area provide a host of different foods for the birds.

"They've spent their winters in South America or Central America," she said. "Many of them go from the Yucatan and cross the Gulf and go 600 miles nonstop. So by the time they get here, they are exhausted
and they are hungry."

Aransas County is now in the prime Whooping Crane season with the largest wild flock in North America. The bird is five feet tall with a seven foot wingspan.