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

Logo: Hawks Aloft Inc.

Middle Rio Grande Songbird Study

Middle Rio Grande Songbird Study

This project is the first comprehensive replication of the avian and vegetation portions of the Middle Rio Grande Biological Survey completed in 1984. We are sampling avian abundance and species richness relative to vegetation community and structure (C/S) types within the Middle Rio Grande Bosque. The study area encompasses 79 river miles between the city of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, in the north, and the La Joya State Game Refuge to the south. Within this reach of the Rio Grande, we established 46 transects representing 16 C/S types.

Wilson’s Warbler – photo by Keith Bauer

Ultimately, we will provide a twenty-year comparison of (1) overall change in avian abundance and species richness, (2) change in vegetation communities and structure types, and (3) comparison of current avian abundance and species richness relative to C/S types 20 years ago. In addition, we will (4) compare current avian abundance and species richness relative to current C/S types, and (5) compare current avian abundance in relation to landscape context and amount of urbanization surrounding the Bosque.

Finally, given the extensive thinning projects being conducted throughout the Middle Rio Grande relying on the mechanical clearing of introduced, non-native vegetation, we are focusing special attention on comparing avian abundance and species richness in areas subjected to mechanical clearing to areas with a superficially similar, but naturally occurring C/S type.

To read a recent article by Trevor Fetz, lead biologist, on the possible impact of human bosque use on birds, click here.