West Texas Birding Weekend


For our West Texas Birding Weekend, guests should arrive early Friday afternoon and get settled into their cabin(s) before embarking on the afternoon agenda described in detail below. Meals are provided during the Birding Weekend and - in addition to the structured agenda items presented below - you will also have “free” time in which you can enjoy some of Twistflower’s features, including the swimming pool (as weather permits), full size pool table, big screen TV, hiking trails, peaceful surroundings and views, relaxation areas, or the privacy of your cabin.

Our Leader
Our Birding Weekend will be led by Dr. Ben Skipper. Dr. Skipper is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Angelo State University in San Angelo, TX. Dr. Skipper earned his Bachelor of Science at Auburn University in Wildlife Science in 2005, his Master of Science from the University of Nebraska - Kearney in 2008, and his Ph.D. in Wildlife Science from Texas Tech University in 2013. Dr. Skipper’s research interests include adaptations of birds of prey to urban landscapes, reproductive and behavioral ecology of wrens, and biogeography of New World birds of prey.



2018 West Texas Birding Weekends:

March 23 - 25, 2018
April 20 - 22, 2018
June 8 - 10, 2018
July 20 - 22, 2018
August 10 - 12, 2018
September 7 - 9, 2018
October 19 - 21, 2018

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West Texas Birding Weekend Itinerary


Friday Afternoon / Evening
Guests arriving at the Twistflower Ranch will meet with Dr. Skipper and learn about ongoing research projects at the Twistflower Ranch. Following the brief meet and greet, Dr. Skipper will lead guests to the banding station and instruct guests in the setup and use of mist nets for the capture of songbirds.

Saturday Morning
At sunrise, Dr. Skipper will lead guests to the banding station where he, along with an assistant, will open and operate mist nets. Guests will have the opportunity to observe how mist nets work to capture small birds, how to extract small birds from mist nets, and how ornithologists band birds and collect morphological data on captured birds. Capture and banding will continue until mid-day or until temperature precludes the safe capture and handling of birds.

Saturday Afternoon
After lunch, Dr. Skipper will lead guests on a birding tour of important birding areas on the Twistflower Ranch or visits to birding blinds. During birding tours or visits to blinds, Dr. Skipper will instruct guests in the proper use of field guides to identify birds and will enlighten guests with additional information on the ecology of the species encountered.

Saturday Afternoon
After lunch, guests will have time to themselves from approximately 11:30am until 3:30pm. At 4:00pm we will re-convene at the Main Lodge to depart for photo blinds. From the blinds we will watch for evening movement and habits of local species, returning to the Lodge just after sunset.

Saturday Evening
Dr. Skipper will deliver an informal lecture on various topics in ornithology. Lectures are designed to provide guests with a more in-depth understanding of deep-rooted and current issues in ornithology. Additionally, lectures will provide a more in-depth view of research activities currently in-progress on the Twistflower Ranch.

Sunday Morning
Guests may choose to be transported by Twistflower Ranch staff to birding blinds for self-observation of the various species present at the different eco-regions of the property.