Looking back: Laity Lodge Birding Guide

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Over the decades, Laity Lodge has offered early morning birding hikes. In the process, they’ve amassed a great deal of knowledge about the seasonal patterns of birds who make the Frio River Canyon their home, including two endangered species, the Black-capped Vireo and the Golden-cheeked Warbler.

The Lodge needed a guidebook to serve as a checklist for experienced birders and offer basic information for beginner birdwatchers. As plans for the content grew beyond a page or two, we started dreaming about what a birding guide might need to feel like. We knew we needed something durable and pocket-sized, since the guides would be used in the field around rocky terrain.

One of our favorite returning guests to Laity Lodge is the now-endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler, and we knew we wanted to feature one on the Scout Book cover. They’re symbolic of life out in the Canyon: In the spring, the warbler females take strips of bark from juniper trees around the Frio River Canyon to make their nests. They’ll preside over a single clutch of three to four eggs, and both parents care for their hatchlings. Over the summer, the baby birds will grow, test their wings, and leave the Canyon by the end of August to fly to Mexico and Central America for the winter months.

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photos: Wendi Poole