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Virginia Rose

In 1973 at age 14, Virginia was injured in a horseback riding accident and continued her life as a paraplegic in a wheelchair.

She graduated from UT Austin in 1981 and earned her Masters in English in 1986. She taught college and high school English for 28 years and retired in 2016.

She began birding in 2003 after her sister, Cathryn Rose, a birder and former Tucson Audubon board member, encouraged her to try it. After hearing a lecture on the House Finch in Austin, sponsored by Travis Audubon, she was hooked! She took every TAS class and went on as many field trips as she could, working around her busy teaching career. Virginia remembers furiously grading in the back seat between birding stops on field trips!

The Travis Audubon teachers and field trip leaders took her everywhere the other walking birders went. In and out of cars, trucks, golf carts, boats, buses and up stairs and over logs and through snow and ice to see rosy finches in New Mexico!

She led beginning birdwalks 2010-2017 and identified over 30 accessible birding spots in Austin.

She joined the Travis Audubon Board of Directors in 2017.

She did her first independent Birdathon with Travis Audubon in April, 2018, and called it Birdability. From dawn to dusk, she visited 5 accessible parks, wheeled about 10 miles, and saw 52 bird species. She has done that Birdathon every year since!

National Audubon found out about Virginia and Birdability in 2018, and the rest is history!

Audubon Texas named Virginia its 2023 Texas Woman in Conservation honoree.

Per Virginia, “Birding brought me a serious, joyful, and meaningful experience complete with a community willing to include me on every level. I wanted to bring the birding experience to as many access-challenged people as I could.

It is happening, Y’all! Thank you! See birdability.org

Upcoming Events

April 2024
April 18 @ 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm

During this presentation, participants will learn exactly who this “disabled” audience is and how to find them. They will learn what accessibility REALLY looks like and get instructions on using the amazing Birdability Map. They will learn the steps to implement Birdability in their locales and learn ways to be a more welcoming and inclusive birder. Finally, they will learn about resources for birders with accessibility challenges because birding is for everybody! The workshop will be held at FeatherFest headquarters…

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April 19 @ 8:00 am - 11:30 am

We are pleased to offer this accessible outing for birders with limited mobility, disabilities, or other health concerns, and for those interested in an easier-paced birding trip. We also welcome those interested in creating and understanding inclusive, accessible birding as a community and life list-building experience. This outing will be led by Virginia Rose, Founder of Birdability, an organization committed to making the birding community and the outdoors accessible, safe, welcoming and inclusive for everybody and every body. This meet-at-site…

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April 20 @ 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm

We are pleased to offer this accessible outing for birders with limited mobility, disabilities, or other health concerns, and for those interested in an easier-paced birding trip. We also welcome those interested in creating and understanding inclusive, accessible birding as a community and life list-building experience. This outing will be led by Virginia Rose, Founder of Birdability, an organization committed to making the birding community and the outdoors accessible, safe, welcoming and inclusive for everybody and every body. This meet-at-site…

Find out more »