The PUMA Appreciation Day will run from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Llano River Field Station, Texas Tech University Center at Junction, 254 Red Raider Lane. The cost is $15 to attend on July 11.
Attendees also have the option to extend their experience with evening activities on July 11 as well as engage in birding and community science events on July 12.
The cost is $50 for participants to attend the appreciation day and the extended experiences. Advance registration for either option is required at https://tx.ag/PUMAReg.
The events are part of the Birding with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension program. Advanced hours for Texas Master Naturalists are available, and Master Naturalists should contact their local chapter for approval.
“If you love purple martins, birds or the Birding with Extension events, this is a great program to attend,” said Emily Grant, AgriLife Extension agent for Gillespie County. “And for those who choose to extend their PUMA day experience, we’ll host our traditional Birds, Bats and Owls dinner. Then we’ll bird and participate in community science efforts the following morning.”
July 11 activities
July 11 morning activities will include educational seminars, an identification presentation on swifts and swallows, hands-on banding experience and lunch. Each participant can also paint their own purple martin canvas to take home, Grant said.
The extended experience event will start at 5 p.m. at the same location and will feature the Birds, Bats and Owls dinner. Attendees will also get to experience owling and a unique mist netting experience with Krysta Demere, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wildlife diversity biologist. The evening program will end around 9 p.m.
July 12 activities
The birding and community science event on July 12 will be held at the Llano River Field Station and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department- Heart of the Hills Fisheries Science Center, 5103 Junction Highway, Mountain Home.
The event will be from 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and include lunch. Leading the event will be Romey Swanson, Audubon Texas director of conservation strategy and wildlife biologist, Austin.
The purple martin
Grant said the appreciation day event will allow participants to get up close with purple martins and learn about conservation efforts.
The largest of the North American swallows, purple martins are a favorite among birders and are known for their predawn singing and avid insect eating.
The birds strongly rely on humans to provide them with suitable housing in North America. Purple martins are prolific migrators, spending their winters in Brazil and other countries in South America.