Just off the end of the runway at the airport in McAllen, traffic noise fades away, only to be replaced by the chittering calls of chachalacas. Nearby shops, restaurants, and cars disappear behind flowering gardens and Tamaulipan thorn scrubs, revealing an urban oasis called Quinta Mazatlan.
The 1930s adobe mansion was originally a private residence. After the property fell into disrepair in the nineties, the City of McAllen bought it and transformed it into a wildlife sanctuary with trails winding through fifteen acres.
Quinta Mazatlan is part of the World Birding Center network in the Rio Grande Valley, a world-class birding destination. In this dispatch from Texas Country Reporter, manager Colleen Hook explains how the sanctuary just might do as much good for humans as it does for wildlife.
related video: after the big year
When she began her year-long bird-spotting adventure, Tiffany Kersten was lost and lonely. She ended up achieving a major milestone—and finding her way. After taking her thousands of miles across 48 states, her adventure led her right back home, where she lets us tag along for a birding tour at Estero Llano Grande State Park. Read the full feature here.