The Christmas Tree in Texas

December 18th, 2017
Christmas tree inside Sauer Beckmann SHS

Christmas tree inside Sauer Beckmann SHS

This is Passport to Texas

The custom of decorating trees for Christmas took root in German villages during the sixteenth century.

A lot of Germans, as you know, settled Texas. And they brought a tradition with them of the tabletop Christmas tree.

Cynthia Brandimarte is program director for Texas historic sites.

When you look at interior photographs of Texas houses, you see many tabletop Christmas trees ornamented for the season, particularly in German households in the late nineteenth century Texas.

Ornaments were handmade then, and small gifts often dangled from branches. Eventually, the tabletop conifer gave way to larger trees that became “floor models,” and the decorations sometimes mirrored the day’s events.

You saw more and more seven or eight feet trees that were placed on the floor. And because we had just ended the Spanish American war in victory, there was a fashion in the early part of the twentieth century to decorate trees with a few American flags here and there. We have photographic evidence for that.

If you celebrate Christmas, we wish you a joyous holiday season. And if you do not, then it’s the perfect time to immerse yourself in nature, because Life’s Better Outside.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Quail and Turkey Outlook for 2017-2018

December 15th, 2017
Wild turkey in Texas.

Wild turkey in Texas.

This is Passport to Texas

Last quail season, bobwhite were at an all-time high thanks to a few years of great weather in a row.

We saw something we hadn’t seen in over 10 years, and it was quite special. And what comes up, must come down.

Robert Perez is Upland Bird Game Program Leader.

This past winter and spring we had average winter rains. Average spring rains. And so, we did have some quail production over the summer—that wasn’t phenomenal. But what we did have was so many birds that are still alive from last year that they carried over to this year. So, hunters can expect—in the bag—a lot of adult birds.

The season for Bobwhite, Scaled (blue) and Gambel’s Quail runs through February 25, statewide.

Scaled quail were phenomenal as well. Way out west in the Trans Pecos. There will still be great hunting opportunities out west at our WMAs.

If turkey’s more your bag, Perez says Rio Grande Turkey season is looking good.

Rio Grande turkey hunting in Texas is top notch. Populations in our state are at an all-time high. We’ll have two year old, three year old birds. Maybe not so much production this past year—a little bit below average—but, overall, Texas populations of Rio Grande turkeys are just through the roof.

Refer to the Outdoor Annual for seasons and bag limits for all upland game birds.

The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series and funds quail research in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Clean Windows May be Dangerous to Birds

December 14th, 2017
A deceased yellow-bellied sapsucker that flew into a clean window.

A deceased yellow-bellied sapsucker that flew into a clean window.

This is Passport to Texas

When ornithologist, Cliff Shackelford, visited the studio recently, he brought with him a small, lifeless bird.

And it turns out to be a yellow-bellied sapsucker.

The little woodpecker had flown into a window at Texas Parks and Wildlife headquarters. Cliff determined its sex and age by the smattering of red feathers on its head and white ones on its throat.

This is a female, yellow-bellied sapsucker, first year bird. I have a permit that allows me to salvage these and take them to a museum where it can be put up as a museum specimen for scientific use.

You’ve probably seen dead birds in your neighborhood.

Bird deaths are rampant in urban areas [from] windows and/or housecats. You can’t take the killer out of a cat. And then windows: go outside—try to take the perspective of a bird. Look at the window. You’ll see blue skies and white clouds, and the trees. It’s all a reflection of what’s behind you.

Birds, especially the young and inexperienced, fly into the reflection because it looks like clear passage.

The really sad part is, this bird doesn’t breed in Texas or anywhere close to Texas. This is a winter bird. And actually, I haven’t seen one yet this fall. It’s sad that the first one [I see] is a dead one in my hand.

As a museum specimen, researchers will study the little bird to better understand her species.

Her death is not in vain, but tens of thousands of birds across the planet die every day by hitting windows.

As good a reason as any not to wash your windows. The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW Magazine – Hueco Rock Rodeo

December 13th, 2017
Bouldering at Hueco Tanks State Park. Image: Brandon Jacobeit.

Bouldering at Hueco Tanks State Park. Image: Brandon Jakobeit.

This is Passport to Texas

The January 2018 issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine, features a story about the Hueco Rock Rodeo by Russell Roe.

The Hueco Tanks Rock Rodeo is a bouldering competition they hold every year at Hueco Tanks State Park outside El Paso. And it is the top bouldering competition in the nation, if not the world.

During four days in February, competitors cling to and climb boulders and small cliffs using nothing but their hands and feet.

Bouldering may lack the drama of scaling a high peak. The climbers are drawn to it because of the purity of the climbing and the powerful, graceful moves required, and the mental challenge of finding the best way to the top.

Climbers spot… and cheer on one another. Some climbs find competitors seemingly defying gravity.

At Hueco Tanks, they’re really kind of finding the steepest thing they can climb. Which is often the roof of a cave. They’re moving horizontally across the ground—holding on by their feet and their hands. And, it goers seem like it defies gravity.

Look for Russell Roe’s Hueco Rock Rodeo story in the January issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine.

The history of Hueco Tanks, concerning bouldering, is so rich. And this competition celebrates bouldering and celebrates Hueco Tanks’ history, and the development of that sport.

That’s our show… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW Magazine – Featuring Epic Texas Challenges

December 12th, 2017
Texas Water Safari. image: TPW TV Series

Texas Water Safari. Image: TPW TV Series

This is Passport to Texas

Expect months of action-packed stories in Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine.

We have chosen as our theme for 2018: the year of epic Texas challenges.

Editor, Louie Bond. And just what are epic Texas challenges?

The biggest. The best. The most. The fastest. Whatever hyperbole you can come up with… You know, Texans love to brag [good natured] and challenge each other. So. We’re going to play on that Texas spirit all year long.

Louie said the challenges align with the Texas Parks and Wildlife mission.

We thought about all of the things that we love to write about in the magazine, and we started looking at all the events that happen in Texas. We figured there was no way to make it all match up month-for-month with our publication. But you know the magic that happens. We found all the different categories and were able to place one in each month of the magazine. So, it just worked out perfectly.

In 2018, readers will paddle to the coast during the Texas Water Safari, bag big deer at the Muy Grande deer contest, push personal limits during the Howl at the Moon Relay, and hang on for dear life at the Hueco Tanks Rock Rodeo and more.

One thing readers might like to know is that if one particular month doesn’t please them—each month is totally different. So, I hope that they hang on for an issue that piques their curiosity.

The latest issue of Texas Parks and Wildlife magazine is on newsstands now.

That’s our show… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.