Matagorda Birding Center brings adventures in nature, birding
Sept. 1, 2011 at 4:01 a.m.
County population: 36,702
County Seat: Bay City
Major city or cities: Bay City
History of the county's name: The county was named Matagorda for the canebrakes that grew along the coast.
Square miles: 1,612 square miles
Main highways: State Highway 35 and state Highway 60
BAY CITY- For Robert Fraley, the Matagorda County Birding Nature Center is more than just a place to watch birds.
Twice a month, Fraley visits one of the grape arbors, his late wife's favorite spot in the park. A plaque dedicated to her has been placed there.
"I like to come here to remember and to enjoy the beauty of nature," he said.
Like Fraley, many like to visit the birding center, which spans 34 acres on the Colorado River.
The idea to start the birding center began when David and Marilyn Sitz, the founders of the nature center, were at the Rockport Hummingbird Festival and saw how the community came together and supported the festival, said Donna Younger, education director for the center.
Opened in 2001, the birding center offers visitors nature trails, butterfly gardens, wetlands, woodlands, gardens, boardwalks and bridges including an outdoor education center and a hummingbird garden.
"The birding center provides a gateway to the natural attractions the county has to offer," Younger said.
The center is managed by volunteers who also teach classes, participate in habitat restoration, and maintain the gardens and grounds. They also help manage the kiosk at the entrance of the center.
Another big attraction to the nature center, Younger said, is the bird population in the county.
About 235 bird species have been observed in the county.
"We get visitors from all over the world who come to visit and watch the different species of birds that we have here," she said.
Birds such as the red bellied woodpecker, yellow crowned right night-heron and the pileated woodpecker are just a few of the birds a bird enthusiast can enjoy watching, she said.
Other events that take place throughout the year at the birding center include the Senior Fish Day, Special needs fish day and Earth Day celebrations.