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What’s Up South Texas!: Woman dedicates life to advocating for birds

Alesia Garlock hopes her mission to save birds inspires others to better protect them in the wild

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio woman has dedicated her life to advocating for birds and hopes to inspire others to do the same.

Alesia Garlock is a citizen scientist who finds time in her busy schedule to not only advocate for birds, but she photographs them for the community to see.

“It is all about trying to find something no one has seen before and if I can get them in an act that not many people see, then that is my goal,” Garlock said. “The courtship I see of the affection not many would catch. Most people are like, ‘Wow, I have never seen them do that before.’ That is the purpose of my book to educate the public on birds.”

After work, you could find Garlock anywhere from three to eight hours a day birdwatching in a park.

“It is very relaxing and a place for me to forget about work,” Garlock said. “I can walk up and down the park and get exercise and fresh air.”

Birdwatching came as a lifesaver when Garlock lived in Rockport. Life was challenging.

“I am a single mother of three and raised them all on my own,” Garlock said. “I went through a time where you had to fight to find good jobs. Living in Rockport, they have a big birding community. Being around there so much there was so much to see, and I loved it and started chasing birds.”

When Garlock moved to San Antonio, her birdwatching continued, even after being diagnosed with Gastroparesis.

“My stomach muscles don’t move so it can cause pain so being distracted gives me an outlet for not thinking about things that bother me,” Garlock said.

She said seeing how beautiful nature is made her realize how important it was to raise awareness about protecting it.

“I advocate for the birds,” Garlock said. “What we have in our parks is a blessing because you wouldn’t see the kind of birds, we have nesting in an urban city. “I saw a nest destroyed. I saw them fall into the river and you get so close to nature and realize, ‘Wow, this is really struggling. The only way to educate the public in a meaningful way is to show them. A picture is worth a thousand words. A million species are on the road to extinction because of human action so maybe we need to start talking about protecting these birds more.”

While walking in parks and snapping photos, Garlock is also meeting new people.

“I share with them the need we have to protect what we have because in order for us to have these species down the road we have to take care of what we have now,” Garlock said. “To co-habitate in this world, we have to share the space. The feeling of saving one of God’s creatures, there is nothing that compares to it.”

Garlock was able to publish a book filled with great quotes, beautiful pictures taken by herself, and more inspiring information that educates the public on her mission to save the birds in our community.

“Love what God has given us to love and cherish it because nothing is guaranteed, and we don’t know that our birds will come back and that they’ll survive 20 years down the road but at least we tried.”


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