(Orange, Texas)

Local News

December 25, 2013

Keeping an eye on the birds

ORANGE — A stop at a Five and Dime in 1948 changed one man’s life.

Walter “Bruce” Bishop stopped at the store as he headed home from the Royal Theater in Orange and bought four books.

“They were twenty-five cents each, if you can believe that,” Bruce said. “My mom liked wildflowers, so one was for her and the others were very basic books on birds.”

Bruce, 77, said that he still has those four books.

In his early days, prior to that purchase, Bruce was the typical boy with a BB gun in those days.

“I was a pretty good shot,” Bruce said. “I noticed a difference in the birds.”

Bruce also made a trip to the G.I. Surplus store and bought a $6 pair of binoculars, paying on the item at fifty cents a week.

From that day on, Bruce studied birds, including writing an article on the Great Egret, a large shore bird often seen in the area.

“In the early 1900’s the Great Egret was almost wiped out because people wanted their breeding plumage feathers for ladies hats,” Bruce said.

Bruce is a self-taught naturalist who has a talent for being able to distinguish birds not only by sight but also by their sounds. During an interview at Shangri La, he was able to count five birds he identified just by hearing their calls.

“I feel I have a God given talent,” Bruce said. “I can hear, find and remember what I hear. I hear low and high tones and can identify 40 species by sound alone.”

Bruce participates annually in the Christmas Bird Count, an event that occurs between December 14 and January 5 across the country according to the Audubon Society website.

It is the longest running Citizen Science survey in the world, Christmas Bird Count provides critical data on population trends. The results are compiled into a database that is shared with federal, state, and private authorities. This is the 114th year of the event.

This year the Orange County team will meet on January 1, 2014 from 7 a.m. until dusk at the service station located at the corner of Farm to Market Roads 105 and 1442.

“We are in groups of two to four and stay within an assigned area,” Bruce said. “It helps show which birds are thriving and which are losing habitat. It gives us a pulse of nature.”

Bruce said all are welcome to the count.

“Novices are assigned with Birders,” Bruce said.

Birders are persons who seriously pursues the hobby or sport of birding while a bird-watcher describes the person who watches birds for any reason at all.

Bruce enjoys birds so much that he could not name a single favorite.

“I really enjoy them all,” Bruce said. “If you ask my wife, once I start talking about birds, I don’t stop.”

Text Only
Local News
  • BC High School Yearbook.JPG Rising above...

    Bridge City High School yearbook students Bree Newsom, editor and Gabriel Alvarez, assistant editor, traveled to Texas A & M University in College Station to attend the Balfour Communications Workshop July 18 - July 21.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Instructor recognized LSC-O instructor receives international recognition

    An instructor at LSC-O has receive international recognition for her work as an instructor in information technology.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • New Trustee Welcome to the Board

    Nathaniel Colbert, standing at left, was officially sworn in earlier this week as the newest member of the West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District’s Board of Trustees.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sabine River 1 Have you seen the Sabine?

    There is more to the Sabine River than meets the eye, if one only looks.

    July 27, 2014 6 Photos

  • T-Byrd Tracy Byrd schedules Labor Day weekend event

    Country music star Tracy Byrd is hitting the stage once again this summer.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Texas A&M launches new Family Nurse Practitioner program

    The Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Nursing has announced plans for a Master of Science in Nursing - Family Nurse Practitioner (M.S.N.-FNP) graduate program.

    July 26, 2014

  • VIDEO: Hibbett Sporting Goods to open in Pinehurst

    Hibbett Sporting Goods, Inc., the national sporting goods retailer based in Birmingham, Alabama, announced the execution of a lease for a new store in the city of Pinehurst.

    July 26, 2014

  • Shop Talk BC officials begin budget talks

    City officials are already working towards a balanced budget in this Orange County community.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hello, Mr. Cosby Cosby opens Lutcher's 35th season in style

    The Lutcher Theater for the Performing Arts 35th season kicked off in fine fashion with two sold-out performances on Thursday and Friday nights by the legendary Bill Cosby. The capacity crowd laughed from start to finish as Cosby spoke about marriage, bodily functions, age, his hotel and the papermill. The Lutcher’s 35th season continues with the next production being Lyle Lovett and His Large Band on Tuesday, Sept. 9. Visit for more information.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Update: New information release on Bridge City shooting

    July 25, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide