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Biodiversity Blog


CAMPUS BIODIVERSITY: Cedar Waxwings, the Beautiful Visitors.

cedarbird   photo by Jacob McGinnis Our campus is home to lots of different birds that are impossible to miss: an inky black grackle flying dangerously close overhead, a chubby pigeon picking at a crust of pizza. But with winter upon UT, we also have another visitor: the Cedar Waxwings. These are strikingly beautiful birds that are less obvi...

CAMPUS BIODIVERSITY: Grackles Here, Grackles There, Grackles Everywhere!

Great tailed Grackle web   Great-tailed grackle, male. (Photo: Becky Matsubara) If you pair the words “Austin” and “bird,” you get “grackle.” But these rambunctious omnipresent birds have an expanding breeding range, and have been around long before Texas was even a state. Austin, for better or for worse, cannot really claim them as our own. Grackle is...


   Photo: Darren Swim Blue Jays (Cyanocitta cristata) on campus are hard to miss. With their striking colors and shrill calls, in addition to their assertive behavior, they are one of the more attention-getting birds at UT. The genus name Cyanocitta derives from the Greek words 'kyaneos,' 'kitta,' and 'kissa'. ‘Kyaneos’ mean blue, a...

How Birds like Tower Girl Keep Cool in the Hot Summers

falcon gutteral fluttering   Tower Girl cools down using "gular fluttering."   As Central Texas moves deeper into the summer months, we Austinites like to find relief from the oppressive heat by wearing shorts and t-shirts, consuming cool drinks, and ducking inside air-conditioned spaces. If you have been watching our resident Peregrine falcon, Tower Gir...