Notes and Documents
The Bird Life of Texas: A Review'
FRED S. WEBSTER, JR.*
TEXAS, ONCE A LAND WHOSE ENVIRONMENT WAS INFLUENCED LESS BY
human acts than by the phenomena of nature, has changed in the past
two hundred years into a state where few if any reaches remain unmodified
by man. The shift from wilderness and plains to planted fields and pasture
lands took nearly a century and a half, and entailed complex though not
always obvious alterations in climate, water supply, and plant, animal, and
bird life. During the latest half century Texas has fast been transforming
herself from a rural to an urban state, and the impact of that fact upon
her natural environment is compounded with each change. Asphalt and
pavement are inexorably replacing woods and fields; suburbia is modify-
ing the environment and wildlife far more quickly and more drastically
than did the plowed field and pasture when they replaced forest and
grassland. Even where the land remains still rural, its character and its
inhabitants are being constantly altered by the demands of the urban world
with which they coexist.
Fortunately for Texans, the wildlife of the rural land is not passing un-
noted. In recent years scientists, scholars, artists, publishers, and philan-
thropists have given their time, their talents, their knowledge, and their
money to record and publish descriptions and pictures of the flora and
fauna which have made the state unique. A definitive description of
Texas's wild flowers was published by McGraw-Hill in I969-as Volume
III (in two parts) of Harold William Rickett's Wild Flowers of the United
It is the University of Texas Press during the twenty-four year tenure of
director Frank H. Wardlaw, however, which deserves particular praise for
its tradition of publishing fine and informative studies of various aspects of
*Fred S. Webster, Jr., a well known ornithologist, resides in Austin, Texas.
'The Bird Lzfe of Texas, by Harry C. Oberholser. Edited by Edgar B. Kincaid, Jr.
(Austin: University of Texas Press, 1974. Pp. xxviii+I,o69. Illustrations, appendices,
bibliography, index. Two Volumes. $6o.)
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101203/. Accessed July 22, 2014.