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  • Chris Belcher

Common Invasive Birds of San Antonio

Updated: Sep 8, 2022

San Antonio has a long history of invasive species starting with cattle and hogs brought here by the Spanish.

Most residents of San Antonio are familiar with feral hogs and how destructive they are. But few of them think about the invasive species they see in the city. The invasive species seen around the city the most are House Sparrows, European Starlings and Pigeons.

Knowing which bird species are invasive in San Antonio can be confusing. The Texas Invasive Species Institute lists seven birds in its database and only lists two species in its database .

Executive Order 13112 of February 3, 1999, Invasive Species defines an invasive species as “an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.”

Lora Reynolds, Bexar Audubon Society, forwarded an article from American Bird Conservancy listing the seven most common invasive birds when asked about them. It lists the European Starling, House Sparrow, Cattle Egret, House Finch, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove and Ring-necked Pheasant.

Reynolds said, “We have all but the pheasant in San Antonio. I don’t think of House Finches as being invasive. The article says they can outcompete Purple Finches where the species overlap, but we don’t have Purple Finches in San Antonio. From my experience watching and feeding birds in my backyard, European Starlings and House Sparrows are the most common.”

A House Sparrow ejects another Sparrow from the nesting spot it just chose in a bird house in San Antonio. Photo by Chris Belcher

The invasive bird species found in San Antonio based on the various lists are European Starling, House Sparrow, Cattle Egret, House Finch, Rock Pigeon, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mute Swans, Monk Parakeets and Egyptian Geese.

The invaders effect not only native birds by taking food and nesting space they need they can also be destructive to habitat.

Managing invasive species is an important tool to ensure biodiversity and protect native species. It doesn’t always get support from the local population. A plan by the San Antonio River Authority to remove Egyptian Geese was changed after opposition from local residents.

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