[helicopter blades whirring]
[blues music playing]
This is an incredible place for migrants.
Where they stop and water
and get some food
before they continue their migration.
The most important migratory corridor
in North America is deep South Texas.
And right now we have the fall migration
The migration is on!
The border wall is no barrier to birds.
I think birds bring people together
from both sides of the Rio Grande.
by Jerry Jeff Walker plays]
-[thunder rumbling softly]
♪ Well, now, Texas, I'm just a little lost
And beaten down ♪
♪ Feel like a mornin' star ahead of me
Fadin' out ♪
♪ But if I make it to the border ♪
♪ Of that Rio Grande... ♪
Those stilts are really enjoying
the fresh water. They're bathing.
Looks like they're wearing little tuxedos.
Really cool birds.
Back during World War II
in the early stages of the war,
this was a training area
for fighter pilots
and there's absolutely thousands
of spent bullets just all around us.
There's .30 caliber and .50 caliber
machine gun slugs.
And now it's a wildlife refuge.
I think I like it better
as a wildlife refuge.
We've been trying to establish a corridor
where animals can actually safely travel
through native habitat
along the Rio Grande corridor.
So there's a lot of reforestation
going on right now
and they're trying to link up
these little islands of habitat
so that the animals can make safe passage
along the wildlife corridor.
[flying insects buzzing]
[Mark Conway] I have recaptured birds
between years that breed in Canada,
and I've caught them in the same net
the next year.
And one of the reasons that we band
is to show that,
and one thing that I hope to show
in the future
is that migrants also do the same thing.
That birds use the same areas
during migration every year,
and so then we can put a a value
on those type of areas
and try to conserve them.
[woman] Call me if you find one.
When a bird flies into the net,
the first thing you have to do
is you have to decide
which way he hit the net.
-So what we do is we go in...
and we secure the legs,
and then we have one more wing,
and he's out.
is a northern waterthrush.
It is a warbler
that is just migrating through.
But, migrants, it's very important
that they put on fat
because they sometimes have to fly
long distances without eating.
So if you look,
uh, you'll see
that this bird has some fat.
This is the northern cardinal.
It's a male.
The other bands that I put on birds
but this one, because he bites so hard,
that we have to put stainless steel bands
on him, or he'll press them in.
Yeah, he's just wantin' to bite me again.
-This is a green jay.
Each band has a unique nine-digit number,
like here in the US,
like our Social Security number,
to identify it.
So when that number goes on this bird,
no other bird in North America
will have this number.
The green jay is a valley specialty,
and this is one of the birds
will pay a lot of money
to come down and see.
[Keith Hackland] This is where birders
come to find accommodation, and...
books and guiding and tours.
When I moved to this area,
I didn't have a job
and my wife said,
"Well, let's open a bed-and-breakfast,"
and I had to figure out
"Who's gonna stay here?"
So we focused our marketing
And we're world famous.
We get birders
from over 40 different countries
coming here to stay with us.
This little circle of land here
in Texas and in Mexico,
it's very rich in bird life,
and that, in turn, brings
a few hundred thousand birdwatchers
to this area every year,
and they spend half a billion dollars
and they sustain 6,600 jobs.
He's our yard security animal.
We used to have a dog back here
and they were friends,
but we don't have the dog anymore,
but we still have Guardian.
Yeah, they look like Mississippi kites
flying over right now.
They're on their way south
along the Mexico Coast.
That's one of the wonderful things about living here,
is migration is very strong.
[Moore] We have more birds
than any place else in the United States.