In February, Austin was named an official Bird City by Texas Parks and Wildlife and Audubon Texas for its efforts toward creating bird-friendly initiatives.
City officials made the announcement April 19; however, the certification was presented in February. Officials said the designation will allow for more protection for the bird habitats throughout Austin.
How we got here
Some initiatives supported by the Austin City Council include the Lights Out Resolution, enacted in 2021, and the World Migratory Bird Day Resolution, enacted in 2022. This designation was due to a collaboration between the Austin Parks & Recreation Department, Travis Audubon, and other city departments and nonprofit organizations, officials said in a press release April 19.
What officials are saying
“I’m proud that Austin is now officially a Bird City,” Austin City Council Member Alison Alter said in a released statement. “Austinites value our parks and greenspaces. This partnership between Austin Parks and Recreation and Travis Audubon further solidifies our commitment to protecting our urban habitats and providing wildlife education.”
Travis Audubon Executive Director Nicole Netherton said in a released statement that Austinites have a long history of protecting the environment and that birds have always been a big part of that protection.
"When we start paying attention to birds, we see how they are connected to everything else in the ecological system, including us," Netherton said. "Travis Audubon is thrilled to continue this important work with our Bird City partners and to inspire even more people to participate in conservation through birding."
Austin Parks & Recreation Department Director Kimberly McNeeley said implementation of the designation will include a website landing page and educational programming. The next big celebration of birds in Austin, she said, will be the celebration of World Migratory Bird Day at Hornsby Bend, 2210 S. FM 973, Austin, on May 13. Throughout that day, there will be free bird walks and an all-day survey to help install a new river trail.
"The Bird City Designation is further proof that Austin is for the birds," District 7 Council Member Leslie Pool said in a released statement. "Birds are vital to keeping our ecosystem healthy and connecting us to nature in our urban environment."