Baker Sanctuary in Leander offers safe space for endangered species

During spring and summer, the endangered golden-cheeked warbler can be spotted in Baker Sanctuary.

During spring and summer, the endangered golden-cheeked warbler can be spotted in Baker Sanctuary.

Image description
Baker Sanctuary
Image description
Baker Sanctuary

Golden-cheeked warblers have a safe space near Leander. Baker Sanctuary, a 714-acre preserve maintained by the nonprofit Travis Audubon Society, is home to the endangered species. The central Texas bird was named an endangered species in 1990, and Baker Sanctuary is the first preserve dedicated to its well-being.


There is no accurate estimate for the bird population, said land manager Christopher Murray, but the sanctuary is trying to change that by tagging every golden-cheeked warbler male. The sanctuary does this in partnership with the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, which is where the sanctuary sits.


For the past eight years, Murray said thousands of bands have been placed on golden-cheeked warblers. Bird watchers in southern Mexico then look for the bands to track migration patterns, but so far only one band has been seen. Murray hopes the bands can provide clues to the species’ population and migration.


“It’s like this huge puzzle,” he said. “It doesn’t really have a good answer.”


Murray and the Audubon Society protect the bird habitat through the removal of non-native, invasive species and by protecting the ashe juniper and Spanish oak trees where the birds make their homes. He builds metal cages around the trees to keep deer away. There are over 200 cages across the sanctuary.


Travis Audubon Society began the sanctuary in 1966 with a 96-acre purchase. Land donations from the Baker family, which the sanctuary is named for, and two other families make up the sanctuary today. The Travis Audubon maintains the sanctuary and three other sanctuaries across central Texas.


The sanctuary also includes the Baker family’s cabin and cemetery, 8 miles of hilly trails and chimney swift bird habitats.


Only Travis Audubon Society members can access the park, which is open from sunrise to sunset. But volunteer restoration days invite the community to clean and preserve the sanctuary.


An education center was added in 2007 so spring youth camps, school trips and groups can learn about the golden-cheeked warbler and the sanctuary.


Future plans for the sanctuary are to renovate the Baker cabin and to continue maintaining a long-term habitat for golden-cheeked warblers.


“You’re essentially gardening for a forest,” Murray said. “You’re not gonna see results right away.”


Baker Sanctuary and Travis Audubon Society
12221 Lime Creek Road, Leander
512-219-8425
www.travisaudubon.org/sanctuaries/baker-sanctuary
Hours: sunrise-sunset for Travis Audubon Society members



MOST RECENT

The Central Texas housing market has seen a record-breaking year despite the coronavirus pandemic. (Community Impact Newspaper Staff)
Leander-Cedar Park housing market sees record-low inventory, spiked prices

The Central Texas housing market has seen a record-breaking year despite the coronavirus pandemic. Most notably is the lack of inventory, which has in turn inflated prices as homes sell faster than ever.

Photo of a gloved hand holding a vaccine vial with the words "vaccine news" superimposed
Austin-area health officials prep for vaccines to open to kids 12 and up

Austin-Travis County interim Health Authority Mark Escott said he expects the FDA to authorize Pfizer's vaccine for kids 12 and up within a week.

wtp tower
BCRUA completes pipeline repairs after break in December

The BCRUA water treatment plant has been offline since Dec. 19.

leander city hall
Leander Mayor-elect Christine Sederquist is 'determined to get to work'

Christine Sederquist will be the second female mayor of Leander and also the youngest mayor.

Leander Public Library
Two Leander City Council races move to June 5 runoff election

The June 5 runoff election will determine Places 2 and 4 council members.

Lemongrass
Thai restaurant Lemongrass opens in Cedar Park

The restaurant opened May 2 on Cypress Creek Road in Cedar Park.

Austin Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Austin Habitat for Humanity ReStore opening new location in Northwest Austin later this summer

Austin Habitat for Humanity ReStore sells new and preowned furniture, building materials, appliances and more.

soaps
Buff City Soap opens shop in Cedar Park

Buff City Soap opened a Cedar Park location April 22.

Several Cedar Park City Council and Leander City Council seats were on the May 1 ballots. (Courtesy Unsplash)
ROUNDUP: May 1 election results in Cedar Park, Leander

Catch up on May 1 election news from Cedar Park and Leander elections.

Cedar Park City Hall
Unofficial results: Cedar Park voters approve 3 of 5 propositions

Proposition A remains narrowly opposed by 130 votes. About 58% of voters opposed Proposition D.