The first time I saw Tandy Hills Park I instantly wondered what types of birds were there. I have been an amateur bird watcher most of my life thanks to my Grandfather, and have had the opportunity to observe birds all over the world, from the rainforests of Ecuador to the ice flows of Lancaster Sound in Canada’s Northern Territory. When I asked my Environmental Science Professor Dr. Tony Burgess, who shares my passion for identifying things and introduced me to the park, what types of birds inhabited the park he could only reply with, “You should find out.” When I was presented with the opportunity of an independent study class I decided that I would. I would spend nearly all my free time from April 2007 to December 2007 at Tandy Hills-Stratford Parks chasing sparrows from brush pile to brush pile, and being fooled by one of the cardinal’s many variable calls.
Initially I was uncertain what birds would inhabit the park. It was this lack of certainty in Fort Worth, an area I was very familiar with, that drove my interest. I discovered that the park was well known for having a plethora of native plants, and was one of the most botanically rich examples of the Fort Worth Prairie remaining. I also found out that the park was only 160 acres, not big by prairie standards, and was completely surrounded by urban environments. This made it unlike any other prairie preserve or park I had encountered. Other areas of protected prairie are usually surrounded by similar types of habitat, in the way of private land used for ranching, which have not seen a lot of disturbance from its original state in terms of possible bird habitat. Tandy Hills is surrounded by residential homes and highways. These areas are unsuitable for the native birdlife that inhabits prairies in North Texas and have been inhabited by highly adaptable and often times invasive species such as the House Sparrow, Common Grackle, European Starling, and Rock Pigeon.