World Birding Center

The World Birding Center consists of nine sites in Texas, United States along a 120 mile corridor following the Rio Grande from the city of Roma on the west to South Padre Island on the east. The mission of the World Birding Center is to protect native habitat, while increasing the understanding and appreciation of the birds and wildlife. The nine sites include Roma Bluffs, Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park, which serves as headquarters for the center, Quinta Mazatlan, Old Hidalgo Pumphouse Nature Park, Edinburg Scenic Wetlands, Estero Llano Grande State Park, Harlingen Arroyo Colorado, Resaca de la Palma State Park, and South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center. Management of the last site has recently come under fire due to the destruction of the nests of two sensitive bird species, a possible violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, which prohibits “whether intentionally or unintentionally…Destroying nests or disturbing nesting birds”. The World Birding Center was also established to aid the economy the Lower Rio Grande Valley, which has suffered from a loss of agricultural jobs. Birders from outside the area are expected to add more than $100 million annually in tourism dollars for the Valley. While the WBC locations offer undeniably good birding and protect a large swath of imperiled habitat, many birders question the suitability of the organization’s name. To many, use of the word World smacks of Texascentrism.

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