Planning to be in West Texas early next month? If so, consider heading over to Guadalupe Mountains National Park to join in the park's annual Christmas Bird Count.
The count is scheduled for January 5, a Saturday. Nancy Stotz of the Mesilla Valley Audubon Society in Las Cruces will present Winter Birds of the Guadalupes: Three Decades of Christmas Bird Counts, a PowerPoint presentation, at 10 a.m. in the Pine Springs Visitor Center Auditorium.
Guadalupe Mountains has participated in the Christmas Bird Count for more than 30 years.
"Because of its diversity of ecosystems, Guadalupe Mountains National Park has nearly 300 species of birds. We are proud to partner with the Audubon Society to participate in the Annual Christmas Bird Count, along with the dedicated citizen scientists who come to the park each year to help with the Christmas Bird count and enjoy a day of birding in a spectacular national park, said Guadalupe Mountains Superintendent Dennis Vásquez. "We are equally pleased to have the participation of the Mesilla Valley Audubon Society in this year's Christmas Bird Count. We hope that new birders will come join us this year.”
Bird species that you may see in the park during the Christmas Bird Count include scaled quail, sharp-shinned hawk, red-tailed hawk, white-winged dove, great horned owl, acorn woodpecker, ladder-backed woodpecker, red-shafted northern flicker, western scrub jay, mountain chickadee, bushtit, white-breasted nuthatch, rock wren, canyon wren, Bewick’s wren, ruby-crowned kinglet, western bluebird, mountain bluebird, Townsend’s solitaire, hermit thrush, American robin, northern mockingbird, spotted towhee, canyon towhee, rufous-crowned sparrow, chipping sparrow, northern harrier, Cooper’s hawk, golden eagle, greater roadrunner, red-naped sapsucker, hairy woodpecker, loggerhead shrike, Steller’s jay, common raven, pygmy nuthatch, cactus wren, sage thrasher, cedar waxwing, phainopepla, pyrrhuloxias, Brewer’s sparrow, pine siskin, gadwall, American widgeon, ring-necked duck, wild turkey, American kestrel, western screech owl, horned lark, juniper titmouse, verdin, redbreasted nuthatch, brown creeper, house wren, golden-crowned kinglet, curve-billed thrasher, Crissal thrasher, green-tailed towhee, black-chinned sparrow, mallard, Montezuma quail, ferruginous hawk, peregrine falcon, prairie falcon, American coot, killdeer, Wilson’s snipe, ringbilled gull, burrowing owl, spotted owl, Wilson’s sapsucker, yellow-bellied sapsucker, downy woodpecker, Hammond’s flycatcher, black phoebe, Say’s phoebe, pinyon jay, Chhuahuan raven, blue-gray gnatcatcher, black-tailed gnatcatcher, eastern bluebird, brown thrasher, American pipit, Audubon’s yellow-rumped warbler, field sparrow, lark sparrow, fox sparrow, song sparrow, slate-colored dark-eyed junco, yellow-headed blackbird, wood duck, northern pintail, greenwinged teal, lesser scaup, common merganser, ruddy duck, ring-necked pheasant, northern bobwhite, great blue heron, cattle egret, bald eagle, Harris’ hawk, rought-legged hawk, sandhill crane, Herring gull, long-eared owl, Lewis’ woodpecker, yellow-shafted northern flicker, eastern phoebe, plumbeous vireo, American dipper, European starling, Myrtle’s yellow-rumped warbler, northern cardinal, American tree sparrow, savannah sparrow, great-tailed grackle, and evening grosbeak.
No experience is required to participate in the Christmas Bird Count. Make sure to register for the Peak Fitness Challenge to record and track your hike mileages in Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Franklin Mountains State Park, and become eligible to win prizes.
To participate as a counter in the Christmas Bird Count at Guadalupe Mountains National Park, please contact the park’s Christmas Bird Count Coordinator, Michael Haynie at 915-828-3251 x2314 or via email at Michael_Haynie@nps.gov or Chief of Resource Management Janet Coles at tel. (915) 828-3251 x2400 or via email at Janet_Coles@nps.gov.