HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Green Jay is the jewel of the Rio Grande Valley. The shimmering emerald green feathering of the Green Jay is unique among South Texas birds.
With a bright blue head, silky black facial markings, and yellow outer tail feathers, the Green Jay is the unmistakable gem of the brush country and riparian river woodlands.
No other bird epitomizes the exotic semi-tropical birdlife of the Rio Grande Valley quite like the strikingly beautiful green jay. The Green Jay doesn’t range much farther north than deep South Texas and is at the top of the list for bird watchers from throughout the world that travel to southernmost Texas for specialty species rarely found elsewhere in the United States.
Green Jays wander as far north as Victoria and up the Rio Grande to Uvalde, but the mesquite thickets and remnant resaca woodlands of the Rio Grande Valley are their stronghold.
Nature tourism is big business for the Rio Grande Valley, and a study released nearly a decade ago by Texas A&M University revealed an economic impact of $463 million annually to the Rio Grande Valley thru ecotourism. Bird watchers make up a huge portion of the area’s nature tourists, and no bird is more sought after than the Green Jay.
The distinctive scolding call of the Green Jay is often heard in the wildlands of southernmost Texas, and if you have ever tried to sneak up on something in the brush country then chances are you have been exposed by the warning call of the ever-vigilant Green Jay.
While a much-sought-after exotic species for visitors to the RGV, many of us don’t have to look any further than our own back yards to enjoy this tropical jewel.
If you visit Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, take a walk around the visitor’s center or stroll the butterfly trails, and you will see the gem of the Rio Grande Valley.