The 10-minute drive from our house in McAllen to Quinta Mazatlan, one of the most popular sites in the Rio Grande Valley’s World Birding Center network, takes us past historic downtown, the airport, and the shopping mall—not exactly what you’d expect for a trip to a lush nature center. And that is precisely the point, says Quinta Mazatlan Manager Colleen Hook. The McAllen metro area is one of the fastest-growing areas in the United States, yet it lies at the convergence of two major migratory flyways. “Our niche is a ‘home and a habitat,’” Hook explains. “We serve as a demonstration site of what you can design around your own home to support and attract wildlife. More than 225 bird species have been documented here. It’s truly an urban sanctuary.” Keep reading at Texas Highways.