5 Days, 5 Nights, 3,000 Miles, and 10 Hours of Sleep—but Who's Counting?
Contestants in the Great Texas Birding Classic face off in fierce competition. The real winners, though, are the birds themselves.
"As a bird flies across the gulf, this island is the first piece of land it comes to," says Leah Pummill, president of the Audubon Outdoor Club of Corpus Christi, which sponsors the project. "These lots have the only grasslands left on the island that are not surrounded by an abundance of houses, and the last standing group of scrub oaks for the next 113 miles."
The prize money could not have come at a better time. A plan has been approved to cut a channel through the island chain, providing boaters with quick access to the gulf; the lots will soon become attractive habitat for hotels, too. "We're trying to purchase ahead of the curve," Pummill said. "We're keeping our fingers crossed that we beat the bulldozers." Saving habitat, all along the trail, is the region's real contest. And if a little bird racing (and not a lot of sleep) can make a difference in those efforts, that will be the biggest victory of them all.