Dave and Wendy Moore are the true definition of “lovebirds” — in more ways than one.
The husband-and-wife duo have been Rio Brazos Master Naturalists for 12 years. Together, they shared in their love of birding on New Year’s Day by leading the first bird walk of 2022 at the Acton Nature Center.
Originally from Florida, the Moores moved to the Granbury area in 1987 when Dave started a new job at the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant. They currently reside in Pecan Plantation.
Dave’s grandparents were always interested in birds, which influenced Dave to give the pastime a try.
“I remember as a little kid looking at bird books,” he said. “I actually started recording my first birds in the 1970s.”
But it wasn’t until he met Wendy — whose father was an ornithologist professor at the University of South Florida — that he really got serious about birding.
“It’s just a great way to get outside,” Dave said. “We’re outdoors people. We’d much prefer to go tent camping somewhere than to go on a cruise. It tunes you into nature. The number of people who consider themselves birders is huge. It’s a huge pastime sport around the world.”
According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website, more than 45 million people watch birds around their homes and away from home.
“It’s interesting on its own, but it's also just something that's so easy to do, and you could do it absolutely everywhere,” Wendy said. “We love it because we bird everywhere we go. We take birding trips. A lot of people once they start doing it, it's just kind of addictive.”
Many birds were spotted on the first bird walk of the year, including cardinals, crows, white-throated sparrow, dark-eyed junco, Harris’ sparrow, a roadrunner and even a unique species of duck called the hooded merganser. A total of 23 species were recorded on the bird walk.
“Probably the most exciting thing is seeing a new species which, for me, is pretty rare,” Dave said. “I may get a new species once or twice a year, and even then, I have to really go looking for it like go to Alaska or someplace. I like just being outside on a nature walk with other people. You don't have to worry about anything else.”
“You get into the moment,” Wendy said. “It’s relaxing to me.”
The bird walk is a three-hour excursion that takes attendees to the bird blind two separate times, where they can observe birds at the feeders and water feature. With three different areas and big windows that make for easy access, the bird blind is a perfect spot for bird watchers.
“It's just kind of a way to get back in nature,” Dave said. “There's always the fun of trying to spot a new bird and it's just challenging because it's not easy. Takes a lot of years and even then, you get stumped. If it was easy, anybody could do it.”
“The more you do it, the more you realize, ‘Wow. I’ve got quite a list here going that I can identify,’” Wendy said.
The bird walks are held from 7-9:45 a.m. on the first Saturday of every month at the Acton Nature Center, located at 6900 Smokey Hill Court.
“They are amazing creatures,” Dave added. “They’ve been around for 150 million years. They’ve survived the asteroid that wiped out 75% of species on the planet.”
“The more you learn about them, the better they get,” Wendy added.