Twenty-two unique Golden-cheeked warbler territories were detected during a recent enumeration survey on the southwestern portion of Shield Ranch Barton Creek that is adjacent to the proposed 5,000-seat Fitzhugh Concert Venue. The survey was conducted by 7eco10, an ecological survey and natural resource management consultancy.
The Golden-cheeked warbler is a small, migratory songbird that was listed as federally endangered in 1990 because of habitat loss and fragmentation in its breeding grounds. They nest and raise their young in mixed Ashe juniper and oak woodlands in 33 Central Texas counties. Because they nest nowhere else in the world and are the only bird species to nest exclusively in Texas, they can claim to be true Texans.
The Barton Creek riparian corridor, its various confluences, bluffs, and uplands in Hays and Travis counties contain such habitats.
“We’re excited that Golden-cheeked warblers are utilizing Shield Ranch Barton Creek. It’s important to acknowledge that habitat loss and environmental stressors such as noise and light pollution are a significant threat to these federally endangered birds,” says Blake Murden, CEO, Shield Land Stewardship Group. “Shield Ranch, and many of its neighbors, protect Golden-cheeked warbler habitat.”
Of note: A pair of Golden-cheeked warblers were found nesting a mere 350 meters northwest of the proposed 5,000-seat Fitzhugh Concert Venue in Ben Cade Hollow, a tributary drainage to Barton Creek.
The takeaway: The proposed Fitzhugh Concert venue would likely have long-term and negative impacts on the Golden-cheeked warblers on the Shield Ranch Barton Creek property and in suitable habitats found on adjacent parcels. The negative impacts of noise and light pollution stressors, along with habitat degradation for this protected species and similar migratory and resident wildlife species, are well documented in scientific literature.