RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – The miracle of migration is taking place right now across the Rio Grande Valley, and the captivating phenomena connects us to the rhythms of the seasons.
The first of the Ruby-throated hummingbirds have begun to arrive in deep South Texas on their marathon migratory journey that will take them some 2,000 miles from their breeding grounds in the northern United States and Canada southward to Mexico and Central America.
Soon, this intrepid vanguard of hummers will be joined by millions of other Neo-tropical migrants, so named because songbirds like the Hooded warbler spend the summer in breeding territories in North America, but migrate to Mexico, Central and South America to spend the winter.
Southernmost coastal Texas is the most important migratory corridor in North America with literally hundreds of millions of birds funneling thru the area in the spring and fall.
In the coming weeks, the passage of Ruby-throated hummingbirds and colorful songbirds will be augmented by migratory waterfowl, as the lakes of deep South Texas provide shelter and sustenance for a variety of ducks, geese and Sandhill cranes.
The Rio Grande Valley is perhaps the nation’s number one destination for birdwatchers, and the influx of migratory birds will bring thousands of birders to the area. This ecotourism, birdwatching in particular, brings an astounding $463 million annual impact to the local economy according to a study by Texas A&M University.
Birds connect us to the rhythms of the seasons and despite the fact that summer’s sizzle still holds sway; the arrival of migratory birds alerts us that change is in the air.