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You're Invited to the TOS Spring in Weslaco!


During the winter meeting of the Texas Ornithological Society in the Rio Grande Valley we were treated to some outstanding rare bird species.  What will happen there during spring migration? You won't want to miss it!

Meeting dates are May 2 - 5, 2024, and our partner again will be the Valley Nature Center in Weslaco.

Unique field trips to some of the best birding locales in the nation, plus two private ranches, will offer excellent opportunities to boost your life list, fill in the blanks on your Texas Century Club count, and just have fun looking at some beautiful birds.

You'll find Valley specialties such as Plain Chachalaca, Altamira Oriole, Gray Hawk and Aplomado Falcon, and possibly Botteri's Sparrow.  You might also spot a Mangrove Warbler on a special boat trip, or enjoy a catered lunch on a guided tour of the King Ranch. 

Our evening speakers will share information on the flora and fauna of the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and birding in unusual spots. Century Club pins will be presented, and President Byron Stone will announce election results and give the annual report for our organization, so please make plans to attend these talks.

ALL events will take place at the Valley Nature Center, including event check-in which begins at 3:00 on Thursday, daily field trip departures, evening events, and the Saturday banquet.  You will also be able to shop at the TOS store there.

We have reserved a block of rooms at the Holiday Inn Express in Weslaco.  We have booked more rooms this time at their special nightly rate of $98 plus tax.  Registration information appears below. DEADLINE TO REGISTER AT THE HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS IS APRIL 24, 2024.

We eagerly look forward to seeing you at this meeting in the beautiful Rio Grande Valley.

- Christine Turnbull, TOS Past-President/Planning Committee Chair


EVENT REGISTRATION:  Online registration will open on March 25, 2024 at 6:00 a.m., and will close on April 21, 2024 at 11:55 p.m.  You will receive a confirmation email once your payment is complete. Details in Registration Information below.

The fee for the event is $100 per TOS member. It is $135 for non-members, which includes a one-year membership.  Students may attend for free. An administrative fee of $35 will be deducted from refunds made between April 19, 2024, and April 26, 2024.  No refunds can be made after April 26, 2024.

LUNCH SELECTION: Attendees may pre-order lunches, which will be distributed each morning at the VNC. We will again offer both gluten-free and vegetarian options. See Lunches section below. Must be submitted by April 24, 2024. No refunds after this date.

BANQUET SELECTION:  Meal choices, including a vegetarian, gluten-free option, are offered on the online registration form and must be submitted by April 24, 2024. No refunds after this date.

FIELD TRIP DEPARTURE:  Caravans to field trip sites will leave from the parking lot of the VNC, 301 S. Border Ave., Weslaco 78596. Please be prepared to carpool from there to birding locations. 


COVID Safety During the Meeting

For the health and safety of everyone, TOS asks that participants comply with guidelines set by private businesses and municipal entities.

Hotel and Breakfast

A block of  rooms is reserved at the Holiday Inn Express at 421 S. International Blvd., Weslaco, TX 78596.  You must call 956-973-2222 and ask for the front desk to make hotel reservations. Mention the TOS block of rooms to receive the $98 per night special rate. Reservations must be made by April 24, 2024.  

Breakfast is included in that price and will be available at 5:00 a.m. daily.


You may pre-order box lunches which will be distributed at the VNC each morning. The cost is $11.00 per meal and your order must be submitted by April 24 ,2024. No refunds will be given after that date. (TRIP LEADERS: Look for a separate email to order your lunches.)

Take a look at the detailed lunch menu, and then place your order HERE.

Saturday Night Banquet

We will offer a South Texas Mexican buffet from Nana's for our Saturday banquet. A gluten-free/vegetarian option will be available.  Order the banquet when you register for the meeting online. ORDERS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY APRIL 24, 2024.  No refunds will be given after that date.

Meeting Agenda


Thursday, May 2, 2024

3:00-6:00 PM    Event check-in

6:15 PM              First-time attendee reception

6:30 PM             Introductions & Announcements: Meeting Committee Chair  Christine Turnbull

6:45 PM             Welcome: Byron Stone, TOS President

7:15 PM             Speaker: Ryan Rodriguez – Welcome Back to the RGV.   

7:45 PM             Meet Your Trip Leader 


Friday, May 3

All Day                Birding – caravans leave VNC between 5:00 and 7:00 a.m.

4:00-5:00 PM    Event late check-in

6:00 PM              Birding Reports, Century Club pins, Membership Report, and 

                             Election Results:  Byron Stone

7:45 PM              Meet Your Trip Leader                                        

Saturday, May 4

All Day                Birding – caravans leave VNC between 5:15 and 6:30 a.m.

5:00 PM              Informal social get-together – cash bar

5:30 PM              Banquet & Birding Reports

7:00 PM              Speaker: Jennifer Bristol – Cemetery Birding


Sunday, May 5

All Day                 Birding - caravans leave VNC between 5:45 and 6:30 a.m.

12:00-1:00 PM  Depart for home

Be sure to visit the TOS store at the VNC!


Event Registration Information

The registration link will be activated on March 25, 2024, at 6:00 a.m. You may click the link HERE and register, or log in to your TOS account on our website and register there.  Note: Some field trips have additional entry/participation fees which will be charged when you register online.

Take a look at our list of field trips and have in mind your first and second choices, as some trips fill fast.  If you would like to be on a wait list for a trip, contact Judy Kestner at 361-701-1962 or Be sure to mention your name, the trip number and how many spaces you’ll need.

Please also be sure your phone number, email address and membership dues payments are up to date. (To confirm, just visit and click Member Login to view your account.)

Once your event fee payment is received by TOS, you will receive a confirmation email showing the trips and banquet meal, if any, that you have selected. Another email will be sent closer to the meeting date with further details. (A separate email will be sent by the VNC confirming lunch selections.)

For any questions, or if you do not have access to the internet, you may call Judy Kestner at 361-701-1962 or Frances Cerbins at 512-694-7924 for assistance with registration. If you don’t get an answer, leave a message and Judy or Frances will call you back when they are available. 

Event Prices

The Winter Meeting Package includes three field trips (excluding special entry fees) and all evening presentations.

$100 for TOS members

$135 for non-TOS members (includes a one-year membership)

FREE for all students

The Saturday night banquet is $35 per person, and lunches are available for $11 (see Lunches above).

A $35 administrative fee will be deducted from refunds issued between April 19 and April 26, 2024. No refunds after April 26, 2024.

VIEW TRIP DESCRIPTIONS HERE. Remember to select two options each day, as some trips fill quickly.

Meeting Presentations

Thursday Evening

7:15 PM

Title: Specialties of the Lower Rio Grande Valley 

Presenter: Ryan Rodriguez

Description: Ryan will be talking about the birds and butterflies found mainly in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, accompanied by his fabulous photographs. Many of these species will be seen on our field trips, so this is a wonderful way to prepare for what’s to come!

  Bio:  Ryan Rodriguez is a 16-year-old birder and photographer from McAllen, Texas.  Ryan has been birding from a very young age starting in his backyard in McAllen.  He is now guiding across the Valley.  He volunteers as an eBird reviewer for the LRGV region and enjoys volunteering as a hawk counter atop the Bentsen Hawk Tower. In the March issue of the American Birding Association Birding Magazine, Ryan's photos of Brown Jays, Mottled Owl, and other rarities found on the Santa Margarita Ranch were featured in an ABA Spotlight article.


Saturday Evening

7:00 PM

Title: Cemetery Birding and Beyond

Presenter: Jennifer Bristol

Description: While cemeteries offer accessible places to bird watch, Bristol highlights the need to tread carefully and ethically when exploring these sacred spaces. Her treatment of each of the nearly 100 locations provides information about what birds can be observed in various seasons and offers readers a snapshot of the cemetery and community’s history. Locations range from the heart of Houston to the wide-open spaces of West Texas and every ecoregion in between. 

 Bio: Jennifer L. Bristol is the author of Parking Lot Birding: A Fun Guide to Discovering Birds in Texas and Cemetery Birding: An Unexpected Guide to Discovering Birds in Texas. She recently contributed a chapter to her father’s book, Texas State Parks: The First 100 Years 1923-2023. She is the former director of the Texas Children in Nature network at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department where she developed a grassroots movement around the need to better connect children and families with nature for a healthier and happier future. For her efforts to connect youth with nature she received the Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center, Enduring Dedication Award and the Phil Hardburger Park Conservancy, Nature Hero Award. In 2018 and 2019 she received the Greater Texas Birding Classic, Most Valuable Birder Award.

She has been a park ranger, business owner, marketing executive, and worked in the Texas film industry. Having a deep sense of service, she has served on the Environmental Commission (secretary), Downtown Commission – (vice chair) for the City of Austin, and on numerous national and local boards. Bristol resides in Austin with her husband and four charismatic dogs.

See you in May!

We are grateful to the following birders who have volunteered to lead field trips during the meeting:

John Berner                                      Byron Stone

Tim Brush                                         Erin Swanson

Bill Clark                                            Romey Swanson

Lisa Edwards                                    Lynn Thompson

Susan Foster                                    Christine Turnbull

Ken Hartman                                   Angelina Vasquez

Judy Kestner                                    Bob White

Crystal Ledezma                             Laura Wilson

Randy Pinkston                               Janey Woodley

Ryan Rodriguez                               Christian Walker



Texas Ornithological Society

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Texas Ornithological Society

Welcome to the Amazing World of Texas Birds!

If you love birds, Texas is definitely the place for you! With eight different geographical regions to explore, each offering its own, unique wildlife environment; more than 660 species to be discovered; and a location adjacent to the tropical regions of Mexico and Central America, you never know what you might see when you grab your binoculars and head out!

Texas Ornithological Society is proud to promote the discovery, knowledge, observation and conservation of birds in Texas since 1953.