Birding Southwestern New Mexico

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As I look back on this, more than a decade after it was written, I find that it is still basically sound.  Some of the original links have been deleted and some new ones added.  Some formatting changes have also occurred to accommodate the requirements of the publishing software I currently use and a few annotations have been added.  Originally published in February 2008. - July 2018


The world was at ease.  it was a typical winter’s day with lots of sun and temperatures around 60.  I was enjoying sitting by the window of my Hillsboro home sipping my tea.  But I really wanted to see something besides what was outside the window -yard birds like; White-winged Dove, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Inca Dove, Mourning Dove, Curve-billed Thrasher, Chihuahuan Raven, White-crowned Sparrow, Harris’s Sparrow [the Harris’s Sparrow has proven to be very irregular since that day - BB], Spotted Towhee, Canyon Towhee, and Ladder-backed Woodpecker.

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Where to go and what to see - such big questions.  I knew that Rebecca would be more than happy to tag along, she knows a great deal about birds and natural history in general, but to call her a “birder” would be far from the truth.

Luckily, southwestern New Mexico has many attractions and periodic events which are attractive to non-birders and birders alike.  And, those events and attractions are often near great birding sites.  Rather than bore you with my ramblings on that winter day, let me give you an idea of some of the possibilities.  For birding information, check out Common Birds of Southwest New Mexico.

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Birding Sites

Percha Dam State Park:  Excellent land-bird birding site at any time of year.  Resident species include; Greater Roadrunner, Say’s Phoebe, Black Phoebe, Gambel’s Quail, Verdin, Cactus Wren, Crissal Thrasher, and many others.  During the winter and summer the list can take on a strong seasonal flavor, making this a great birding site any time of the year.

The area around Silver City: Numerous birding sites, especially for montane and Mexican species alike; Greater Pewee, Red-faced Warbler, Olive Warbler, Common Black-Hawk, Painted Redstart, and Brown-crested Flycatchers.  Visit the areas along the Gila River and in the Pinos Altos Mountains in particular.  Silver City is the home site of the Southwestern New Mexico Audubon Society.

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge:  One of the premier birding sites in the United States, especially during the winter when Sandhill Cranes and various geese species are in residence - in the thousands.  The Friends of the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge are a great resource.

Las Cruces: The Mesilla Valley Audubon Society is a great resource.

The Black Range:  The material on this site to include The Black Range Naturalist newsletter.

And For the Non-Birder

Truth or Consequences - Hot springs and the Geronimo Springs Museum.

“Ghost Towns” like Hillsboro (stay at the Enchanted Villa Bed & Breakfast), Kingston (stay at the Black Range Lodge and enjoy easy access to the mountain forest), Lake Valley, Monticello, and Chloride.

Hatch - “The Chile Capital of the World” - Chile Festival on Labor Day Weekend. Hatch Chiles to the right.

Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument - One of the classic cliff dwelling sites of the southwest - set above the meandering Gila River in an incredibly picturesque location.

City of Rocks State Park - Scaled Quail for the birder and the adventure of sculptured rock and “secret” paths for the kids. (photo upper right)

Rockhound State Park and Spring Canyon - just outside of Deming.  A great location for butterflies and flowers.

Pancho Villa State Park and a cross-border experience in Palomas, Mexico (be sure to visit the Pink Store).

THE BIRDING TRAILS OF SOUTHWESTERN NEW MEXICO

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© Robert Barnes 2018