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Lipan, Texas (February 1, 2024) The National Audubon Society proudly announces Cougar Hollow Ranch, located near Lipan in Hood and Parker Counties, Texas, as the latest addition to its growing list of bird-friendly habitats certified through the Audubon Conservation Ranching program. Owned by the Laura and Greg Bird family and managed by Jon and Ben Taggart for the Burgundy Pasture Beef brand, products originating from this ranch are now eligible to carry the Audubon Certified bird-friendly seal, a label that lets consumers know products are grazed on ranches specifically managed for birds and biodiversity.
The certification is earned through the Audubon Conservation Ranching program, Audubon’s flagship grassland habitat effort. Representing a collaborative effort between ranchers and Audubon to combat the decline of grassland bird populations – the most rapidly declining bird species group – Cougar Hollow Ranch joins the ranks of over 100 certified ranches, covering nearly 3 million acres nationwide. With the addition of Cougar Hollow Ranch, 14 certified ranch habitats totaling over 88,000 bird-friendly acres are contributing to the conservation cause in Texas.
The Audubon Certification distinguishes wildlife-focused grassland management, notably through rotational cattle grazing practices that create a diverse mosaic of habitats for grassland birds. Under the vision of Greg Bird and the land leadership of Jon and Ben Taggart, whose ranching operation near Grandview, Texas, is also an Audubon Certified bird-friendly habitat, Cougar Hollow Ranch is undergoing a habitat transformation.
Bird says what was an overgrazed property with invasive plant species and too much brush is being brought back to its natural grassland state. One that, according to Jon Taggart, not only aligns with the conservation goals of the Audubon program but also results in enhanced forage quality for his herd.
Using a method of high-intensity, short-duration grazing, the plant community at Cougar Hollow Ranch is diversifying. Thomas Schroeder, Partnerships Manager for Audubon Conservation Ranching, is complimentary of the habitat partnership between the Birds and Taggarts that Audubon is joining. “This is a really special place. The great work that Jon, Ben, and Greg have been doing for habitat, birds, and biodiversity here is remarkable,” he said. Schroeder says Northern Bobwhites (bobwhite quail), Dickcissels, and Meadowlarks at Cougar Hollow Ranch will be the birdy signals as the native grasses and flowers continue to take root.
For more information about Audubon Conservation Ranching in Texas, contact Anita Hoskins, Senior Private Lands Coordinator, at [email protected].
For information in other states, please contact [email protected].
About Audubon Conservation Ranching
A wildlife habitat initiative of the National Audubon Society with a unique market connection, Audubon Conservation Ranching aims to stabilize declining grassland bird populations in partnership with ranchers – on whose land 95 percent of grassland birds live. Audubon Conservation Ranching’s enrollment includes over 100 ranches and nearly 3 million acres that have earned status as Audubon Certified bird-friendly land. Incentivizing this habitat work for birds and biodiversity are consumers with an appetite for conservation, who support it with the purchase of products grazed on these lands. Shoppers see a special package designation – the Audubon Certified bird-friendly seal – that sets these products apart. For more information, visit www.audubon.org/ranching.