The Golden-cheeked Warbler
The Golden-cheeked Warbler is a true Texas native. Federally listed as Endangered in 1990, this tiny songbird breeds in only 32 counties in Texas and nowhere else in the world. This warbler faces an uncertain future and is threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation.
While at Baker Sanctuary you will see mature oak and native Ashe Juniper trees (Juniperus ashei) – commonly called Cedar – that provide the breeding habitat needed for the Golden-cheeked Warbler’s survival. Shredded bark from old growth Ashe Juniper trees and spider webs are used to build its nests while the caterpillars and spiders found on the oak trees provide food.
Golden-cheeked Warblers can be identified by their distinctive buzzy song, which the males use to establish territories. As the breeding season draws to a close in July, the warblers prepare to journey south to their wintering grounds in the pine forests of southern Mexico and Central America, returning again to Texas each March.
- U.S Supreme Court rebuffs effort by conservative Austin group to gut endangered species protections, Austin American-Statesman, January 11, 2021
- U.S. Judge rebuffs George P. Bush endangered species de-listing effort, Austin American Statesman, February 7, 2019
- Legal Action Taken to Save Tiny Texas Songbird, Travis Audubon Press Release, 8/2/17
- Golden-cheeked warbler needs federal protection, Austin American-Statesman, 6/19/17
- State agency sues U.S. To end longtime warbler protections, Austin American-Statesman, 6/6/17
- Lawsuit filed to remove Golden-cheeked Warbler from endangered list, KXAN, 6/5/17
- Press Release, Texas General Land Office, 6/5/17
Why The Warbler Matters
Texans and international visitors treasure the Hill Country, but its value goes far beyond beauty and includes critical ecosystem services to our communities.
Here’s what protecting the warbler means for you:
• Water quality. Protecting Golden-cheek Warbler habitat also protects critical drainage and recharge zones for the Edwards Aquifer.
• Air quality. The juniper-oak woodlands serve as air filters for the area and reduce carbon dioxide while increasing oxygen content. An acre of trees on average absorb the same amount of carbon dioxide produced from driving a car 26,000 miles, and releases over 2000 pounds of oxygen!
• Recreational income. The Golden-cheeked Warbler attracts birders – and bird and nature watchers contribute an estimated $300 million to the Texas economy annually.
• Texas heritage. The Golden-cheeked Warbler is an iconic part the Texas landscape. Protecting the bird and its habitat leaves a legacy for generations to come.
Want to learn more?
- Virtual Talk with Chris Murray: Golden-cheeked Warbler Research at Baker Sanctuary
- eBird Golden-cheeked Warbler
- Fish and Wildlife Service: Golden-cheeked Warbler
- Audubon: Golden-cheeked Warbler
- Birdwatching Daily: Seeing both GCWA and BCVI
Where Can I See Golden-cheeked Warblers?
Interested in seeing the Golden-cheeked Warbler in its native breeding grounds? They can be seen and heard reliably from mid-March to end of May each year at the following sites around town:
- Baker Sanctuary – in Leander (northwest of Austin), Travis Audubon membership required for entry
- St. Edwards Park – 7301 Spicewood Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78759
- Warbler Woods – outside of Lago Vista (west of Austin), entry is free but visitors must contact the owners via email prior to visit
Flock with us…
• SPEAK UP: We invite you to join Travis Audubon’s Advocacy Committee. Please contact Nicole Netherton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• CONTRIBUTE: In the face of repeated threats to Central Texas birds and wildlife, your help is needed more than ever! Help Travis Audubon to respond during these critical times.