Birding is an amazing way for people to enjoy the outdoors and see the many different species of birds, and other wildlife, in New Mexico. There are over 2,000 bird species in North America and just under 550 of those can be found in our state. From the greater roadrunner to the red-faced warbler, if you like to get out and view birds in their native habitat or search for a rare bird passing through during the migration, New Mexico is the place for you.
New Mexico has seen several rare visitors, also known as vagrants, pass through from time to time. One of those was the eared quetzal. I was lucky enough to see one of these a few years back, but it was just across the state line in the Chiricahua Mountains in Arizona. The bird was less than eight miles from New Mexico, so one can see how they sometimes end up here. According to the American Bird Conservancy, the rarest bird to make an appearance in New Mexico was the long-billed murrelet, which was thousands of miles from its usual home along the northern Pacific coastlines of Russia and Japan.
With so many opportunities to go birding in New Mexico, the Department of Game and Fish, in collaboration with state, federal and non-profit partners, created the New Mexico Birding Trail to highlight more than 40 of the most attractive birding locations throughout southwest New Mexico. The guide includes maps, birding tips, site descriptions and contact information to help you identify birding sites.
“This program is a great way for the amateur birder to get started and the most experienced birder to find new places,” said Mason Cline, Bird Program Manager for the Department of Game and Fish.
With the spring migration underway, now is the perfect time to plan your birding trips.
For more information on birding in New Mexico, check out the Southwest New Mexico Birding Trail. Not only will you spend time enjoying the great outdoors of New Mexico, you could get lucky and see a bird that has never been here before.