Each year, nearly 2 billion birds migrate through Texas in one of the planet’s great wildlife spectacles.

Birds have intrigued me since I was a little girl. My mother was a knowledgeable, self-taught naturalist who was passionate about birds. Her fascination with bird-watching began when I was 10. She volunteered to be my Girl Scout leader, which involved helping us earn our bird badge. We would sit outside for hours with our binoculars and wait for birds, such as painted buntings and yellow warblers, to flit past. We would admire their beauty, their songs, and their freedom as they soared across Midland.

Read more in this Op-Ed from former first lady, Laura Bush, in the The Dallas Morning News here.