Bird Projects

September 14, 2023
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Invasive Bird Projects

The Texas Invasive Bird Project (TIBP) has been ongoing since 2008, resulting in many studies of invasive birds here in Houston.  These include six core focal species: Mute swanEgyptian geese , Monk parakeet, Red-vented bulbul Scaly-breasted munia  and Northern red bishop.  Other studies (mostly prior to TIBP) were done for Blue-crowned parakeet  and small seed-eating birds.

Aquatic Bird Projects

We have surveyed aquatic birds at McGovern Lake in Hermann Park since 2010.  This project has produced a number of studies on waterfowl, including invasive Egyptian Geeseaberrantly colored mutations, and comparing community ecology of wintering ducks  among several regional urban sites.  A study of both North American species of Night Herons foraging on a locally abundant prey item was done at a nearby site on Buffalo Bayou.

Other Avian Projects

Working at a museum with plenty of salvaged specimens entering the collection, its probably no surprise that we document remarkable, unusual ways that various birds meet their end (or came close!), from choking on acorns to trapped in a spider web  (incidentally, the latter article led to a bigger project that became well known).  Additionally we did a project on optimal foraging by Swainson’s hawks on a locally abundant prey item, and assessed avian diversity along a channelized gradient of Buffalo Bayou.

Authored By Dan Brooks

As the HMNS Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, Dr. Dan is known as ‘the guy with the most backbone’ in the museum! He curates four permanent exhibits at the museum, where he was worked as a full-time staff member since 1999. He has described 10 new species to date, and is very active in local ( and international (Southeast Asia and Latin America) wildlife research, especially with gamebirds. Afflicted with the inability to ‘shake the nature bug’, when he’s not at work in the museum, one of his favorite things to do is scouting and exploring the great outdoors with his family.

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