Welcome!

To the South Texas Chapter Master Naturalist Website!
The Texas Master Naturalist program develops local teams of “master volunteers” to provide educational and outreach services aimed at the better management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities.  The Texas Master Naturalist program is a partnership between the Agrilife Extension and Texas Parks & Wildlife.

On this site you will find information on volunteering, advanced training, where we meet, our calendar of events, how to become a Texas Master Naturalist, and more!

 

Critter of the Month! Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)

Perching Anhinga. Photo Credit: Audubon.org

This awkward, gawky bird of freshwater and coastal habitat goes by many descriptive names like snakebird, darter, American darter, or water turkey.  The word “anhinga” comes from the Brazilian Tupi language and means “devil bird” or “snake bird.”

Anhinga are commonly found in warmer climates.  They lack the inner feathers that insulate most birds and as a result they have thermoregulation issues.

Anhinga do not have the oil gland of many water birds.  When their wings get wet they must spread them out to dry.  This pose is similar to cormorants and vultures.  While wet feathers are a detriment to flight, they provide nearly negative buoyancy meaning the anhinga can remain submerged a long time.  Although not particularly fast swimmers, Anhinga are effective hunters using their long neck and sharp bill to catch fish and invertebrates.

 

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