Hawks Aloft Inc.
PO Box 10028
Albuquerque, NM 87184
Phone: 505 828-9455
Fax: 505 828-9769
E-Mail: gail@hawksaloft.org

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Hawks Aloft Blog

Simple Backyard Birding in Albuquerque

As we all social distance and stay home during what we hope is the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are searching for enriching activities to pass the time. Even if we make our way out to natural spaces, maintaining a distance from each other can be difficult. That’s why it’s best to get your bird watching done from your yard, if you have one. Even if you don’t, you can take a moment to appreciate the common species of birds that populate our city and are often quite easy to spot!

Some that you might catch a glimpse of throughout the city include: 

Image by Alan Murphy

Rock Dove

Often maligned, the Rock Dove, AKA the pigeon, is abundant throughout much of the world and chances are, this is the most common bird in your neighborhood, no matter where you live in Albuquerque. Even though they are familiar, take a moment to appreciate the resiliency of the species and their long-running relationship with human beings. For example, Egyptian hieroglyphics suggest that pigeons were domesticated over 5,000 years ago. For an added challenge, see how many variations in plumage you can spot on your block—rusty brown and even nearly entirely white are two possibilities. 

Image by Larry Rimer

Greater Roadrunner

That quintessential bird of the West. Their amazing adaptations give us pause—that they can eat a venomous snake or a scorpion, for example. Or that their moisture-rich prey offers them an opportunity to take in water in such arid climates as the Chihuahuan Desert. These birds are abundant in many parts of Albuquerque and throughout the spring, you may catch a glimpse of their elaborate courtship rituals.

Image by David Powell

Curve-billed Thrasher

Secreted away in chollas and paddle cactus, the Curve-billed Thrasher is almost as quintessentially Southwestern as the roadrunner. Easily identified by their long, curved bill, these birds are often spotted foraging for seeds, berries, insects, or even visiting low-hanging feeders. Next time you’re out in the yard, see if you can’t spot the yellow eyes of one of these thrashers peering back at your from a cactus. 

Image by David Powell

Northern Mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird has an abundance of calls that makes its song sweet and entertaining. Feeding on fruit, insects, worms, and even the occasional small lizard, they are often visible perching atop trees, shrubs, and utility lines. Your yard might be particularly attractive to this species if you have an abundance of hedges, fruiting trees and bushes, and grassy patches for ground foraging. You might even be taking this time to plant some of these as you stay home, and with good reason—after all, who wouldn’t want a few resident Northern Mockingbirds around, sweetly singing even into the evening?

Image by Tony Giancola

Black-chinned Hummingbird

Among the most common hummingbirds starting to nest in New Mexico as spring sets in is the Black-chinned Hummingbird. The males have an easy-to-spot deep purple throat that usually looks black. Setting up a hummingbird feeder with four parts water to one part sugar (no food coloring!) can attract these lovely nesting-season visitors to your neck of the woods. 

Getting familiar with the birds around your home and neighborhood is a great way to spend some time as you social distance and hunker down to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. It’s also a great way to connect young kids to the natural world and encourage learning outdoors. Make the most of it, and let us know what birds you’ve spotted recently in the comments! 

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