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The 1,200 subtropical acres of Brownsville’s Resaca de la Palma State Park boast the largest tract of native habitat in the World Birding Center’s network of nine wildlife preserves along the Rio Grande. Several cities and counties, working with state and federal authorities, collaborated to create the network—no mean feat in such a densely populated area of the state across the border from Mexico.
Through the years, flooding of the river carved out resacas—small tributaries, or channels—that deepened with every flood. These resacas were cut off when the river meandered in a different direction and was dammed upstream of the state park. But during wet seasons, the area’s resacas make prime habitat for birds seeking shallow ponds and marshes. Dense stands of brush and woodland thickets adjacent to South Texas’ resacas attract other local and migrating birds and butterflies.
Resaca de la Palma, which opened in 2008, has eight miles of trails and four miles of observation decks that overlook the four-mile-long resaca that curves through the park. In addition, a 2.8-mile tram loop winds through the park. For more information, call (956) 350-2920 or go to www.worldbirdingcenter.org.