Texas Is for the Birds
by James Richardson
November 25, 2015
Filed under Destinations
The Rio Grande Valley attracts almost 500 species of our feathered friends as they nest, breed and migrate in this alluvial plain
A great place to spend the winter is at one of the many RV parks in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. And it is an extraordinary bird-watching location, as evidenced by the fact that it is home to the World Birding Center, a series of nine different birding sites, all located in south Texas and all with tropical bird species unique to the Rio Grande Valley and areas southward. Some of those species include the green jay, the plain chachalaca, the common pauraque and the great kiskadee. It is a major bird migration corridor and the location where two principal flyways — the Central and Mississippi — come together.
One of center’s sites is in the town of Mission, Texas. Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park serves as headquarters for the World Birding Center. The park, which is located near the Texas-Mexico border, is a 797-acre tract that adjoins another 1,700 acres of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service land, adding to the already abundant birding opportunities.
The park’s visitor center has an exhibit hall, a store and a meeting room. The butterfly gardens and hummingbird feeders that surround the center attract more colorful wildlife. Visitors can travel through the park by tram, and walk or ride bicycles on 7 miles of trails. Two enclosed blinds allow people to view or photograph birds up close. A wheelchair-accessible two-story observation tower is located at the trail’s end. From there, visitors can see across the border into Mexico while scanning the treetops below for birds and other wildlife.
Winter is a great time to visit Mission and the Rio Grande Valley. So much so that winter RVers are welcomed and called Winter Texans, rather than snowbirds. There are many RV parks within the Rio Grande Valley from which to choose. We stayed at Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort adjoining the state park, which has an extremely long list of amenities. It is a 250-site park offering almost anything an RV traveler could want during a stay. Some of the amenities are free Wi-Fi, free long-distance telephone calling within the United States and Canada, free passes into the state park, complimentary bicycles, a pool, a fitness center, birding blinds and a wood shop.
Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort
956-585-5568 | www.bentsenpalm.com/bentsen-palm-village-rv-resort
World Birding Center Headquarters
956-584-9156 | www.theworldbirdingcenter.com