• Vicki Wilmarth

Palo Duro Canyon Bird Blind

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

A reliable place to closely observe birds in the Texas Panhandle is the small blind located behind the Trading Post in the base of Palo Duro Canyon State Park.


(Top to bottom pictures: Black-crested Titmouse, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, Brown Thrasher, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Fox Sparrow, Northern Cardinal (male), Northern Cardinal (female), White-crowned Sparrow, House Finch, Canyon Towhee).


I have learned about so many birds by quietly observing them at the bird blind. Other than the cardinals, I'm not sure I had ever seen any of these birds before I started heading to the PDC bird blind. I didn't grow up in the Texas Panhandle nor had I paid that much attention before this year to the little birds that frequent our ecosystem here (I have searched for and observed raptors for years, but I sort of ignored the "little brown birds").


The bird blind is also a great place to meet other bird nerds. Mark Elliott, who has a beautiful bird photo website, https://photoavian.wordpress.com/, was there on the Saturday that I saw the Northern Parula. New to birding and new to town, Hereford Middle School teacher Micah Shulze was also at the bird blind at the same time as me on one weekend in November. I really enjoy talking to other birders and relying on their expertise and spotting ability.


Sadly, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has been starved for funds for years and has a huge maintenance backlog. So this beautiful bird blind suffers from a water pump that has been broken for months. A green garden hose running from the Trading Post has sufficed this year. But I look forward to seeing the TPWD repair the fountain now that Texas voters have passed a constitutional amendment requiring that the majority of the sporting goods taxes received by the state be allocated to TPWD.

After all, many animals, not just little brown birds, are depending on the resources of that bird blind.


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