LETTER TO THE EDITOR — Port Arthur should become a “Bird city”

Published 12:01 am Friday, September 24, 2021

Dear Editor,

 

Birds, Birds, Birds! More than 20 million Americans take birding-specific trips per year, and Port Arthur is a birder’s (birdwatcher’s) paradise.

Situated on two major migratory flyways, we are home to multiple birding sites along the Upper Texas Birding Trail, which includes Sabine Woods, a local site widely thought of as one of the most productive migrant stop-overs along the entire Texas Coast for spring and fall migration.

The thick trees, easy access to water and safe shelter make Sabine Woods a hotspot for hundreds of colorful birds to rest and thrive. Other popular birding sites in the Port Arthur area include Pleasure Island, Sea Rim State Park, the national wildlife refuges and wildlife management areas.

Birding drives domestic and international travel to our region of the state and contributes to our overall economic growth. Birding enthusiasts who travel to Port Arthur tend to fall into the boomer category, stay multiple days in the market and prioritize and promote sustainable and responsible travel.

We are proud to welcome birders from around the world!

On behalf of the city, The Convention and Visitors Bureau is seeking to become a certified “Bird City” through Texas Parks & Wildlife. It is not enough just to be known for birding and birding sites. We must also seek to enhance our birding habitats.

To accomplish our goal, we need community involvement in increasing public awareness of the benefits of birding and conservation. We need native gardens and plants. We need to create “dark skies” during migration.

Birding and the conservation of their habitats is a win-win for local citizens and tourists alike. Protecting natural habitats for future generations will allow for continued outdoor recreation.

Port Arthur and Sabine Pass excel at outdoor recreational opportunities. Ecotourists, which includes birders, love our area and seek us out. Birders are great tourism partners because they have light footprints in the community and want to protect the birds and conserve their birding sites.

In short, we have incredible birding, and we are seeking to protect and enhance our birding here in the city. We are looking for people who would like to be a part of the process.

It could be planting native gardens. It could be spreading the word. It could be helping to maintain a site or joining a bird count. There are many opportunities to get involved.

Please reach out to Darragh Castillo in the Convention & Visitors Bureau Office at 409-985-7822 if you would like to be a part of helping Port Arthur become a “Bird City.”

We have nature and we have the birds – let us enhance what we have together. Happy Birding!

— Tammy Kotzur is the director of the Port Arthur Convention & Visitors Bureau.