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Guided by Susie Lower, a volunteer with The Nature Conservancy, students from Bay City elementary school learn to bird watch on the conservancy's Mad Island Marsh Preserve near Collegeport, Texas.<br />
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The marsh, part of the Matagorda Bay estuarine habitat, on the Texas Gulf Coast, lies at the terminus of the Central Flyway, one of four principal North American migratory bird routes. Nearly 250 species of birds--including migrating and resident songbirds, shorebirds, colonial nesting birds, and wading birds--use the area for feeding, resting and roosting. Yet, the preserve's upland prairies represent a part of the remaining 2 percent of the original tallgrass coastal prairies once found across Texas.