A Grand Vision Takes Flight
The Rio Grande Valley has long been recognized as a world-class birding destination. And now with the creation of the World Birding Center, Texas Parks & Wildlife, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services, and 9 valley communities, plan to expand awareness about this ecological treasure along the state’s southern border. The WBC is a network of nine sites dotted along 120 miles of river road from South Padre Island west to Roma, with habitats ranging from dry chaparral brush and verdant riverside thickets to freshwater marshes and coastal wetlands.
Over 10,000 acres will be opened up, many for the first time, and all prime for viewing. The mission of the WBC is to protect native habitat while increasing the understanding and appreciation of the birds and wildlife. Our project is a global model for conservation and ecotourism development.
With its headquarters located in Mission, the WBC is centered at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. Birders can look for Green Jays, Altamira and Audubon’s Orioles, Hook-billed Kites, and flocks of Broad-winged Hawks in migration.
The World Birding Center will be striving to invite novice as well as advance birders/naturalists to the sites by offering viewing stations, watching towers, interpretive centers and programs. Bird watching is a booming national pastime, and for the Lower Rio Grande Valley, it’s also big business. Ecotourism is a solution where local people benefit from tourism revenue and birds/wildlife benefit from protected lands. Tourists are spending millions of dollars each year for the chance to see our famous birds. Our goal is to grow tourism and grow the number of acres protected in the Rio Grande Valley.