Feature Illustration: The F.C. Hixon Bird House is currently receiving a renovation and slated to be completed in June. Image: San Antonio Zoo/Facebook

Posted: 5-20-2022

San Antonio (Bexar County) — The F.C. Hixon Bird House at San Antonio Zoo, completed in 1966, is receiving a renovation and improvement to the façade highlighting the zoo’s bird community – now one of the world’s largest.

Colonel F.C. Hixon funded the construction of the unique bird aviary “built-in-the-round” to house tropical birds from around the world. After its completion,  Edward Marshall Boehm gifted 100 of his rare birds to the zoo to join the community in the new indoor aviary. The Hixon Bird House has informed and entertained visitors for over 55 years and remains an iconic part of the zoo.

Thanks to donors, the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, and visitors, nearly $60 million dollars has been invested back into the zoo over the last eight years, with another $60 million in projects coming over the next three. The F.C. Hixon Bird House redesign joins a multitude of recent zoo improvements, including the recently opened NEOTROPICA realm, Pantera Walk – presented by Texas A&M San Antonio, Kronkosky’s Tiny Tot Nature Spot reimagining, a new 4D theater coming this summer, a soon to come new front entrance and plaza, and much-anticipated gorilla habitat to the future developments of the 108-year-old zoo.

The center of the building features an open-air simulated tropical rain forest with live vegetation and free-flying birds. Some of the bird species in the central open aviary have included Indian rollers, Rothschild’s mynahs, cock of the rock, pekin robins, whydahs, and several species of touraco. Around the central rain forest are fourteen unique individual habitats.

“The F.C. Hixon Bird House was named for my husband’s uncle, a generous supporter of the San Antonio Zoo, and opened in 1966,” said Karen Hixon. “Though it has been a landmark at the zoo since that time and houses an amazing array of birdlife, in recent years, it has been more of a well-kept secret destination. We are so pleased and excited to lend our support to the revitalization of the entire building but especially the vibrant additions to the facade that will make it a true destination for all the visitors to the zoo. This is yet another example of the incredible work being done by the San Antonio Zoo.”

“The F.C. Hixon Bird House is one of the most unique avian exhibits in the country, both in architectural design and species diversity,” said Tim Morrow, President & CEO of San Antonio Zoo. “The storied and continued support of the Hixon family has made this and many of the wonderful things at our zoo possible – we are truly grateful for their support.”

San Antonio Zoo recognized the Hixon family as recipients of its 2018 Wildlife Conservation Award, an annual award that recognizes those who exemplify a strong commitment to conservation leadership. The zoo’s President & CEO, Tim Morrow, says the visionary leaders who understand the plight of endangered wildlife and have made significant investments in wildlife conservation programs locally and across the globe.

Over five decades, the Hixon family has shown faithful support in the form of service and financial backing to the San Antonio Zoological Society. Elected to the zoo’s board of directors in 1963, George C. “Tim” Hixon served for many years, including serving as president from 1980 to 1984. Tim and his wife Karen’s efforts helped allow for the successful creation of Africa Live! and Zootennial Plaza.

Tim’s support in the 1970s secured two rhinos for the zoo, which led to the first birth of a rhino outside of Africa, right here at San Antonio Zoo. Their son, Timo, has been a board member since 2013. The Hixon family conservation involvement runs deep within the community supporting the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, the National Board of the Nature Conservancy, the National Fish and Wildlife, the Game and Conservation International, the Audubon Society, and Bat Conservation International. The Hixons’ commitment to conservation and San Antonio Zoo represents the impact individuals can make with their support.

Edited from press release.


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