Golden-cheeked Warbler

The Golden-cheeked Warbler is an endangered bird native to central Texas that is at risk due to parasitism by brown-headed cowbirds and because of habitat loss from construction, juniper clearing, and over-browsing by deer and goats.


Narrator: John AhrnsTitle: Native TexanDuration: 00:00:54Date: November 11, 2005John Ahrns served as the steward and interpreter for the Westcave Preserve for over thirty years, and here tells about the golden-cheeked warblers that have long called the Preserve their home.Narrator: Valarie BristolTitle: Baker SanctuaryDuration: 00:06:06Date: May 23, 2022Valarie Bristol is an Austin-based lawyer, and a long-time advocate for conservation in the Hill Country. Through her service with Travis County, the Trust for Public Lands, the Texas Land Trust Council, and the Nature Conservancy of Texas, she has made many contributions. Here she tells about her role on the Travis Audubon Society board helping secure the last steps in a 50-year campaign to set aside Baker Sanctuary as a protected area, eventually placed within the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve and dedicated to golden-cheeked warblers and other wildlife.Narrator: Bill BunchTitle: Imminent DangerDuration: 00:03:20Date: November 10, 2018Bill Bunch, a public-interest environmental attorney long active in protection of habitat and water quality in the Hill Country, describes emergency efforts to list the golden-cheeked warbler in 1990 as an endangered species.Narrator: David DiamondTitle: Hotter and DrierDuration: 00:02:54Date: June 15, 2022David Diamond, a plant ecologist, who served with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Natural Heritage program, and later consulted with the agency on large-scale habitat mapping, worries that climate change may bring heat and drought that will harm the golden-cheeked warbler.Narrator: Susan HughesTitle: Hue and CryDuration: 00:03:51Date: February 17, 2006Susan Hughes, a leader among Texas conservation volunteers, served on the boards of Bexar Audubon, Audubon Texas, the National Audubon Society, and other organizations. Here she laments the cultural divide, political partisanship, and poor communication that waylaid efforts to protect and restore the golden-cheeked warbler in central Texas.Narrator: Tim JonesTitle: It's a FraudDuration: 00:03:08Date: May 22, 2022Tim Jones is a cameraman and a videographer, and a witness to changes in Hill Country habitat and golden-cheeked warbler populations over the past generation. He is skeptical about recent proposals to de-list the bird, and remove it from Endangered Species Act protection, since he sees the bird's numbers remaining low, and suffering from climate change, drought, predation, and habitat fragmentation.Narrator: Dean Keddy-HectorTitle: Plan A & BDuration: 00:02:01Date: June 14, 2022Dean Keddy-Hector is a biologist who worked at Texas Parks and Wildlife during the '90s, in a time of great turmoil over regulation of endangered species, including the golden-cheeked warbler. Here he tells about his later work for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a non-profit that sought to support and protect government staff caught within agency controversy and unaccountability.Narrator: Dean Keddy-HectorTitle: Abundance and ExtinctionDuration: 00:00:34Date: June 14, 2022Dean Keddy-Hector, a wildlife biologist who worked with Texas Parks and Wildlife, and taught at Huston-Tillotson University, here explains that we need to focus on habitat loss to gauge a species' future viability, not just sheer numeric abundance. Otherwise, we run the risk of ignoring the lessons of the collapse of the passenger pigeon, Carolina parakeet, or American bison.Narrator: Clif LaddTitle: Leave It BeDuration: 00:04:27Date: December 15, 2022Clif Ladd, a consulting wildlife biologist who has worked with golden-cheeked warbler study and protection efforts for many years, points out several key challenges for maintaining the bird's habitat, including protecting against oak wilt, guarding against wild fire, and minimizing the "nicks and cuts" of transmission lines, roadway expansions, and disruptive uses, like mountain bike trails.Narrator: Elizabeth McGreevyTitle: Old GrowthDuration: 00:02:30Date: October 26, 2022Elizabeth McGreevy is an Austin-based ecological planner, long fascinated by the Ashe juniper woodlands of the Hill Country. Here she tells the story of the misunderstandings that met the listing of the golden-cheeked warbler, and the clearcutting of the old-growth junipers that ensued.Narrator: Lisa O'DonnellTitle: Island PreserveDuration: 00:03:00Date: June 30, 2022Lisa O'Donnell is an endangered species biologist who has worked for a private firm, DLS Associates, for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and for the City of Austin. Since 2007, she has been the senior biologist at the City's Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, and has seen the challenge of managing lands set aside for the golden-cheeked warbler and other rare species, but located in the midst of, and increasingly encircled by, a rapidly-developing area.Narrator: Susan RieffTitle: Take Back TexasDuration: 00:03:44Date: February 21, 2008Susan Rieff has had a varied career in the environmental field, working as the Director of Natural Resource Protection at Texas Parks and Wildlife, as an Assistant Commissioner under Texas Agricultural Commissioner Jim Hightower, as Director of Environmental Policy for Governor Ann Richards, as Director of Land Stewardship at the National Wildlife Federation, and as Executive Director of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Here she talks about the reaction from the private property rights community to efforts to protect the golden-cheeked warbler in Texas.Narrator: Chuck SextonTitle: Rare as Hen's TeethDuration: 00:02:47Date: May 18, 2022With positions as a wildlife biologist at the City of Austin and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chuck Sexton, Ph.D., has worked for decades on studying and protecting the golden-cheeked warbler. Here he notes the increasing rarity of the 100-150 years of old-growth Ashe juniper habitat upon which the warbler relies. The juniper has been lost to a variety of factors, including the cutting of the trees for fence posts, to the clearing of woodlands for cattle, sheep and goat grazing, to the razing of forests for development.Narrator: David WolfeTitle: CooperationDuration: 00:04:06Date: May 20, 2022David Wolfe, a biologist for the Nature Conservancy and Environmental Defense Fund, worked with private landowners in the Hill Country to restore trust and to conserve golden-cheeked warblers, and in so doing, also helped organize a broad collaboration among property owners to protect their rural lands from a variety of threats, including development, pipelines, natural gas production, highways, water diversions and other risks.