BAREC Birds and Wildlife: Their Importance to Our Urban Community

American Kestrel (Pair)
Rock Pigeons
Mourning Dove
Anna's Hummingbird
Northern Flicker - several (red-shafted)
Nuttall's Woodpecker
Black Phoebe
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Western Bluebird
Cliff Swallows arriving for the breeding season

American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Yellow Rumped Warbler
White Crowned Sparrow
California Towhee
House Finch
Cooper's Hawk
Red Wing Falcon

BAREC is home to many migrating birds as a landing or resting area when they are traveling long distances. It is one of few large open spaces on the Valley floor that has natural vegetation and is not near a freeway or under the airport flyway. Texas actually has open spaces for just this reason; they attract tourists from all over the country. BAREC is open and offers many places to nest and hide, something not common in the area. Swallows return to our community for the breeding season and several species can be seen flying over BAREC. Kenneth “The Bird Man” Randazzo who lives on BAREC’s perimeter has a bird aviary adjacent to BAREC. According to Randazzo: “500 to 600 Canada Geese land on BAREC every winter over a month period during their migration.”

The most active places for birds are on its borders in the gardens that face BAREC as well as nearby gardens. The old wood poles have lots of insects in them and birds spend hours on them getting food from their nooks. The poles purchased today are pressure-treated with chemicals and do not support the kind of insects like found in the older, existing poles. You will never see a bird on the newer poles for this reason. The largest and oldest trees on the property are on the northwest corner and this is where the Hawk nests have been sited. The Hawks eat mice, rats, and squirrels. They help to keep these animals in balance in our urban community. However, in order for the Hawks to remain in the community they must have large open spaces like BAREC. Randazzo states: “My children love to watch the Hawks come souring down to catch the squirrels.” Bats are seen flying over the property just before dark. They are important to our urban population because each bat eats approximately 200 mosquitoes a night. Owls are heard at night.

Thousands of varieties of insects fly over BAREC and in the neighborhood. Other animals which have been sited on BAREC are: Weasels, Raccoons, Opossums, Mice and Rats.

The above birds and animals depend on a large natural open space such as BAREC and not only on linear creeks. Each has its own ecology and each is needed for a balance in our wildlife and vegetation. These birds and wildlife co-existed with the BAREC workers when it was being farmed. If this open space were to become housing, it is most likely that 95 percent of them will disappear. When they disappear the mosquito, rice, and rat population would increase. Abatement would then become expensive and bring chemicals into our lives that bring health problems to humans. The BAREC neighborhood is extremely fortunate to have such an abundance of life on a daily basis. It would be wonderful for our urban population to have this experience right where they live and not in far away open spaces or on vacations. A balance with nature and humans needs to be found and BAREC is helping to teach us this.

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