About Friends of the Migratory Birds – San Antonio
Through observation, documentation and photography of nesting Migratory Birds at the park, Alesia Garlock has dedicated her life to educating the public on the Migratory waterbirds that nest in a quickly diminishing urban habitat in San Antonio. The species she studies include the Yellow Crowned Night Heron, Great White, Snowy, Cattle Egret, Little Blue Heron, Green Heron, and The Tricolored Heron.
Her book, For Love of Birds:Journey of the Migratory Birds was distributed to San Antonio residents, city government, state, and congressional appointees to share the story and the beauty of the migratory birds. She shares information on the circle of life, impact to water (San Antonio River Authority bacteria data), and environmental impact when humans alter or destroy parts of critical nesting habitat. This impact affects all of us, including wildlife.
Garlock uses her book to help people understand, “What we do to our wildlife or world matters. Conservation begins with us.”
Project Description & History
Four species that nest at Brackenridge Park are listed on the Texas Conservation Action Plan as Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN). In her book, she shares the story of these birds, noting that many migrate to San Antonio from as far away as South America. The birds face declining urban habitat and the threat of harassment by humans. Each year the birds build and lose nests. Many chicks perish naturally, as nature balances the number of species. During nesting season the birds contribute to the ecosystem by providing food for the aquatic species such as fish and turtles that feed off the bird’s droppings and carcasses. On land, vultures contribute their services and nature cleans up afterward with rain showers.
With contributions from Dr. Daniel Cox on the Benefits of Bird Watching and PARKRXAmerica on the health benefits of outdoor therapy, Garlock has a new book release in 2021, Whistler Makes New Friends: Journey of the Migratory Birds 2-Waterfowl. Her new book shows the diversity of birds in urban settings by telling a story in the perspective of a duckling that makes new friends in a city park.
San Antonio is located in the Central Migration Flyway Zone, providing critical stop over habitats for Migratory Birds. For this reason, she believes it is important that we promote conservation of these critical waterways for these birds.
Sharing the story of the birds brings awareness and connection between humans and the birds, and promotes conservation of the habitat they use. Thanks to Alesia’s photography, residents of San Antonio can learn more about migratory birds, the benefits they can have on the community, and how taking care of the environment can help these birds thrive.