Though the King Ranch is a private, commercial operation,and visits are expensive compared to a state park or wildlife refuge, birders may well want to consider a tour here. Not only will you experience one of the legendary places in the Lone Star State, you’ll also have a better-than-average chance of seeing some of the most elusive and sought-after species of the GTCBT.
Founded in 1853, the King Ranch has grown in a century and a half to a truly Texas-size spread: At nearly 1,300 square miles, it’s larger than the state of Rhode Island. Cattle are a major business, of course (King Ranch developed the now common Santa Gertrudis breed), but the ranch also raises horses; grows cotton, citrus, and other crops; and sells leather goods and other retail products. The ranch has its own museum at 405 North Sixth Street in the town of (note the name) Kingsville. Protected from most development for decades, the vast tract of ranch property has been a kind of de facto wildlife refuge.
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