Ask-a-Birder: What is a HOTE?

Have you ever been unsure of some of the notations included when documenting your sightings in eBird? We recently received the following question which may interest Austin-area birders, particularly those who visit Hornsby Bend.

“I use eBird quite a bit in locating birds that I want to photograph. Frequently I see a Home after the name of some sites, e.g. Hornsby Bend (HOTE 037). I cannot seem to find out what the HOTE designation means. Can you please let me know where I can find this out. Many thanks and good birding.”

Richard Kostecke, eBird monitor, was able to provide this answer:

“It refers to the Great Texas Wildlife Trails, a watchable wildlife program that TPWD was promoting. Besides the website, there were also foldable pamphlet maps.  Anyway, HOTE = Heart of Texas. There are 2 Heart of Texas wildlife loops/trails – HOTE East and HOTE West.  Hornsby Bend is part of the HOTE East loop.  I think the point was to link and sync these watchable wildlife sites with eBird hotspots, especially since birding was what was primarily driving the watchable wildlife movement.”

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