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.

Hawks Aloft Blog

Blog Topic: General

Decolonizing Nature at UNM

What does decolonization mean? And, how can one even begin to address the process of decolonizing something as big and full of meaning as nature? These are heady topics, and a recent conference in Albuquerque sought to address them in a multitude of ways. I was lucky enough to write an article for the Weekly Alibi about the recent Decolonizing Nature conference, hosted by UNM at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, and in turn, attend some sessions on behalf of Hawks Aloft.

The conference, which was held between April 18 and 22, included an array of sessions that broached such topics as “Species, Place, Politics,” “Building Bridges—Art, Community, Humanities,” “Sustainable Communities,” “In the Borderlands,” and “Water is Life,” among many others. In addition, an art exhibition opened in conjunction with the conference at 516 ARTS and the UNM Museum of Art hosted a small film festival. Through this variety of mediums and topics, the organizers of the conference, led by Subhankar Banerjee, hoped to free minds when it comes to considering our planet and its fate, and to engage the community in a dialogue on its own broad-based health and happiness.

Goodbye to All of That

Virginia Colwell’s “Goodbye to All of That,” part of the Decolonizing Nature exhibition at 516 ARTS

In this process of shaking off prescribed notions of ways of being and interacting with the natural and constructed world, many vital and inspiring conversations took place. Each panel discussion allowed for brief lectures by a carefully chosen group of individuals and left ample time for questions and comments from the community. Jeanette Hart-Mann, who I interviewed about the conference, pointed out that the presenters were carefully chosen because they are individuals who aren’t just “writing glorious papers” for other academics but are actually doing the work that they think is meaningful in their field.

From "Golden Migration," a site-specific work by choreographer and dancer, Lisa Nevada

From “Golden Migration,” a site-specific work by choreographer and dancer, Lisa Nevada

Sitting in on “Species, Place, Politics” panel discussion was interesting, particularly because speakers were selected from a vast number of fields. What many might find surprising is that there were a large number of artists participating in the conference, always game to speak on how art can provide another language to discuss complex, nuanced topics. On this particular panel was local dancer and choreographer Lisa Nevada, and Silver City-based photographer (and former field biologist) Michael Berman, as well as UNM PhD candidate and biologist Carlos Carrion. Nevada talked about her site-specific art, Golden Migration, performed at Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge; Berman presented photography from the border as a vehicle for discussion; and Carrion, a native of Ecuador, talked about Yasuni National Park in his home country, and its fraught future due to Ecuador’s economic reliance on oil.

"Macho Peak Looking North," Pinto Ranch, TX, 2007. By Michael Berman

By Michael Berman

Each presenter addressed the topic in subtle, nuanced ways, suggesting there are infinite ways to tackle such pressing issues, using your own very specific and personal talents. As Hart-Mann mentioned when I interviewed her, the root of our ecological problems is that we view ourselves and our world as fundamentally different; that we as humans are set apart from the natural world. If we are separate from nature, then exploiting it isn’t so problematic. The aim of the conference, in part, was to realize that we are a part of this Earth, and what we do it, we do to ourselves. We are not “Earthmasters” as the Decolonizing Nature program described, but Earthlings, a single part of the biological web much bigger than ourselves.

Maggie and Idaho


Maggie Grimason is senior editor and an educator at Hawks Aloft.

Add your comment!

Ravens Hatching

In early April, Hawks Aloft, along with longtime partner American Tower Corporation and Nexius Solutions participated in the mitigation of a raven nest near Portales. The video below, graciously edited and produced by Steve Elkins, tells the story of the young ravens who were given a chance at life.

Add your comment!

Leucism in Birds

Several weeks ago Hawks Aloft staff made the trip to Monte Vista, Colorado for the Monte Vista Crane Festival. Upon their arrival they started to hear rumors of a Red-tailed Hawk haunting the edges of the wildlife refuge. But this was no ordinary Red-tailed; defying the colors that dominate the species, this was a largely white Red-tailed Hawk, with only the occasional rust or brown feather that birders might expect when it comes down to identifying such a bird.

The leucistic Red-tailed Hawk spotted in Monte Vista, Colorado. Image by Larry Rimer

The leucistic Red-tailed Hawk spotted in Monte Vista, CO. Image by Larry Rimer

This particular hawk—a leucistic one—isn’t an entirely common sight, and Hawks Aloft staff and volunteers were thrilled to spot it on their first day out. It is hard to get an accurate grasp on how common leucism is in birds, but Project FeederWatch, an extensive online database of bird species observed and reported by citizen scientists, has recorded only about 1,600 leucistic birds of any species out of 5.5 million distinct birds indicated. But what exactly is leucism? And why does it happen at all, albeit infrequently?

Leucism is a blanket term for abnormal plumage conditions caused by genetic mutations. This genetic inheritance prevents a pigment—melanin—from being carried and deposited in the bird’s plumage. This condition can end up looking like the Red-tailed Hawk spotted in Colorado, or it can also be displayed as white patches throughout the body, in places where they wouldn’t normally occur in a species. Sometimes the condition also manifests as an overall paler plumage in the bird, as if its color was diluted.

Leucism is quite different than albinism, another similar (and similarly unusual) condition in birds. Considered to be extremely rare in the wild, albinism is marked by a total lack of melanin. Leucism, notably, only impacts the bird’s feathers, while albinism is apparent in the feathers and elsewhere. For example, albino animals almost always sport red eyes, as well as pale pink or red skin, feet and bills. Leucistic birds usually have normally colored eyes, skin and feet; the condition of leucism only impacts the feathers.

Image by Larry Rimer.

Image by Larry Rimer

Although it is quite exciting to see a leucistic bird in the wild, they do face certain challenges that make their lives difficult. These birds, without the protective camouflage that other animals have, become more vulnerable to predators. Additionally, plumage colors play an important role in courtship and mating; as such, many leucistic birds may be unable to find suitable mates. Last but not least, the dysfunctional melanin production in leucistic bird’s feathers may even make it harder for them to fly. Since melanin is an important structural component to feathers, birds lacking the proper amount of this pigment may have weaker feathers that are more prone to breaking and less able to insulate the body against cold and damp.

Leucism can be a great burden on the bird, however, it does remain rare. As such, when a birder spots a bird such as this, it allows for a moment of pause as we consider the great complexity of avian life, and the beautiful and observable variety among these amazing animals.

Maggie and Idaho

Maggie Grimason is senior editor and an educator at Hawks Aloft

Add your comment!

Intermediate Raptor Handling Class

On March 3, a small group of Hawks Aloft staff and volunteers gathered for a second time to acquire greater skill and comfort when it comes to working with our team of more than 20 permanently injured birds of prey. Raptor handling classes are a unique and important part of working at Hawks Aloft and provide an interesting way to interface with the bird species that are at the core of our mission.

Jeannine with Aztec

On this particular occasion, volunteers Mary and Brigitte, Raptor Rescue Dispatcher Jeannine, and I, sat down at Executive Director Gail’s house in Rio Rancho, eagerly awaiting a lesson from Gail and Education Coordinator and raptor handling aficionado Julia Davis on how to safely and comfortably work with our larger Avian Ambassadors. For this lesson, we were joined by Celeste, a Barn Owl, Aztec, a Great Horned Owl, and Idaho, a Swainson’s Hawk who came to us last year with feather damage. Each of these birds requires specific knowledge in order to keep them relaxed and happy on the glove, which was a key a point in this intermediate raptor handling class.

Bridgette with Idaho

Julia and Gail strongly emphasized the need to be familiar with each bird’s distinct needs. Do they have trouble balancing on the glove? Do they jump for the box when it is time for them to be put away, or, alternatively, do they tend to jump out of the box as soon as you swing open the doors? Do they tend to bate, and if so, do they require special attention to get resituated? This detailed knowledge of each particular bird’s personality and needs was strongly emphasized in this class series so far.

Mary B. with Aztec

Secondarily, with more advanced handling skills, more advanced knowledge of each bird’s species as a whole makes for broader insights into who each bird is, and allows the handler to better answer questions and confidently work with the bird while simultaneously delivering programming at events in the future. As such, another key component to these intermediate handling classes was discussing and sharing knowledge about each bird species. We all took turns explaining the range of each species, their behavior and habitat, as well as sharing some facts that make each unique. Taken as a whole, the classes have provided great insight not just into how best to work with birds on the glove, but into the a variety of raptor species, as such, these expansive classes have been worthwhile for all involved.

Maggie with Idaho

Maggie with Idaho

Add your comment!

Building Better Futures for Birds, Linemen, and Customers

Photo by Aaron Dailey

Photo by Aaron Dailey

Earlier this month the Farmington Electric Utility System partnered with a number of other agencies to successfully relocate existing nests of Osprey near Navajo Dam and create safer artificial nesting sites. The project stands to create a ripple of positive effects—successfully creating a safer environment for birds and humans, as well as allowing for better service to be delivered to subscribers throughout the area. Below, environmental scientist Aaron Dailey of Farmington Electric Utility System unpacks the importance of this project.

How did you come to this project?

Dailey: We have been seeing an increase in Osprey breeding pairs coming in to the Navajo Dam area and trying to build nests on FEUS (Farmington Electric Utility System) energized powerlines … It has been difficult to remove nests [and] reduce the birds’ and human linemens’ risk associated with dealing with these large nests.  Pole fires have become a frequent problem due to [them].  We had one platform installed at the base of Navajo Dam, so last year, we decided to get a wholesale project going in earnest to prevent Osprey from building nests on FEUS power poles and associated equipment. We strategically planned the locations to be more attractive and higher up than the existing nests in hopes [of] luring the birds to the alternative platforms.

Working with Navajo Dam State Parks, USBR (US Bureau of Reclamation), and NMDGF (NM Department of Game and Fish) we were able to set up a well-coordinated project plan and execute this plan prior to the migratory Osprey returning in spring 2017.

Photo by Lindsay Balmer

Photo by Lindsay Balmer

What were your specific concerns when it came to these birds and their choice of nest?

Will the Osprey prefer the alternative platforms and cease building nests on FEUS poles/equipment?

Will this increase the population of Osprey such that new breeding pairs that survive and reproduce [will] be an issue down the road?  What is the carrying capacity and did we plan the proper amount of alternative platform locations to provide for this?

Can we maintain the continued level of inter-agency cooperation to monitor and prevent Osprey from building nests on FEUS poles and ensure they nest on the alternative platforms?

We also ensured that the platforms and materials used will withstand several decades of use.

What was the process like from surveying until completion?

It took about a year from start to completion. This was mostly [to] ensure that all agency needs were met and approvals through all agencies were obtained.  A detailed project plan was provided, conference calls were planned and conducted, site surveys were done, then the big event–where we showed all the FEUS management, agency stakeholders, representatives, and [other] interested parties how we were constructing these platforms–occurred on March 9, 2017.  Everyone got to help build one [and] felt a sense of accomplishment and inclusion, [as well as gained an understanding of] how sturdy and well-built these platforms are.

The USBR wanted to ensure that they could continue to perform dam maintenance activities.  At first, the USBR did not want any platforms installed in the Primary Jurisdiction Area because they felt that they had been admonished one time by USFWS as they were performing maintenance activities too close to an Osprey platform.  Through discussion with USFWS PhD level biologists and other agency members, the USBR allowed for two alternative platforms to be installed in the Primary Jurisdiction Area, as this was agreed by all to be the best management practice here.

Photo by Aaron Dailey

Photo by Aaron Dailey

How do both birds and humans stand to benefit from this project?

This will reduce the birds’ risk of being electrocuted.  They will be able to have nests that will not be removed once they take to the alternative platforms.  FEUS ensures compliance by not moving nests once these nests are active, so pole fires are less of a concern at this point.  Also, FEUS linemen will not have to risk going up and battling pole fires, risking their safety by going up … to remove old nests, etc.

The strategically placed nest platforms can be viewed easily by the public at a distance, which should interest birders that visit NM State Parks.  One alternative nest platform is located right by the Navajo Dam Marina Visitors Center.

It is a win-win for all.

What do you think was particularly exemplary about this mitigation?

The level of cooperation from State Parks, NM Department of Game and Fish, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the US Bureau of Reclamation was outstanding.  We were able to pool our resources in order to make this mitigation a success and save money along the way.  State parks was able to do the cultural surveys, and USBR was able to the environmental assessment, and FEUS was able to donate the labor and platform hardware in order to save money, time, and effort overall.

What is the current status of these nests?

We have six alternative Osprey platforms installed and ready for Ospreys to inhabit.  Where there were existing nests on FEUS powerlines, these have been removed and placed on the new alternative Osprey platforms.

Photo by Aaron Dailey

Photo by Aaron Dailey

What do you hope others stand to learn from your work on this project, and in other similar projects?

That through cooperation and collaboration these projects are possible and everyone wins, especially the birds.

For more background on this project, check out the coverage provided by the Farmington Daily Times below or download a PDF of the article here!

2016-01-20 08.49.07-1
Maggie Grimason is a senior editor & educator at Hawks Aloft. 

Add your comment!

Walk Softly: Free at Last!

Once in a while a really nice thing happens and I was fortunate to share in one particular instance’s successful conclusion. In mid-December in Ontario, Canada, Scugog Councillor Betty Somerville and her husband Len were driving on Simcoe Street north of Port Perry and noticed a large bird, obviously in distress, on the side of the road. As they watched, the bird flopped around in the ditch, clearly injured, so Len cautiously approached the bird and placed a coat over it to calm it. Wild birds can be very stressed when injured, so it is critical to first decide if you can catch it without causing further harm or if you should seek help from a professional first. Due to the location of the bird near a busy highway, as well as the remoteness of the location, Len and Betty decided to try the rescue. They knew they needed to act fast as the injuries appeared severe, so they drove to the Scugog Animal Hospital, where Erin Forget, a registered veterinary technician, examined the bird. Clear signs of trauma were noted and the bird appeared weak, spastic, and had trouble holding its head and wings in place. After some preliminary x-rays, it was confirmed that the bones were undamaged–lucky! Soft tissue damage and trauma could be dealt with, but not at the vet clinic.

So, the bird was carefully bundled up and sent off to Pefferlaw, where Gail Lenters of Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge, a privately run wildlife rehabilitation center, and Dr. Sherry Cox of the National Wildlife Centre in Caledon East, took over the care. Their examination and x-rays likewise confirmed that the bird didn’t have any broken bones but was traumatized, had suffered severe bruising and exhibited some neurological signs of head trauma, but no permanent harm was expected. Slight bleeding in the eye and an inability to perch added to the treatment considerations. The hawk was very thin, which is often noted in young birds which haven’t learned how to hunt effectively. Administering fluids, anti-inflammatories, food (cut up into bite-size morsels), TLC, and patience showed rewards, and in a few days the bird was eating well and starting the long road to recovery. Time and care would heal the bird for its eventual release.

The young Red-tailed Hawk in flight after being released. Photo by Geoff Carpentier

The young Red-tailed Hawk in flight after being released. Photo by Geoff Carpentier

Once Gail was satisfied that the damage had been repaired, the swelling had subsided, balance re-established, and the bird was gaining weight, rehabilitation began in a small outdoor cage where the hawk would learn to use its wings again and regain strength. From here it was transferred to Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre in Napanee, where Sue Meech took over the rehab. A large flight pen allowed the hawk time and space to hunt and gain full wing strength. After about two weeks, back he went to Pefferlaw for the final stages of treatment and then back to Betty and Len. Wow–what a journey!

The rehabbed Red-tailed awaits release in Ontario, Canada. Photo by Geoff Carpentier.

The rehabbed Red-tailed awaits release in Ontario, Canada. Photo by Geoff Carpentier.

On February 20th, I was invited by Betty and her husband to share in the release of the bird—now confirmed to be an immature male Red-tailed Hawk—at their Scugog farm, near where the bird had been found in December. Resting on the bed of their pick-up, the hawk cowered in the transport cage for a few moments as we patiently waited for it to realize that freedom was at hand. Soon it took the cue and flew out of the cage, circled over our heads, panicked some pigeons on the barn and then tried to land in the wild for the first time in almost two months. But the landing was flop. Heading straight for the barn, it tried to land on the roof, but it was a metal roof and it was slippery! Instead of perching safely and then leisurely taking time to get its bearings, panic set in as the hawk slid down the slick surface, as if on a toboggan. Realizing the peril, we watched in anxious anticipation but the hawk took care of his own fate and lifted off, circled again and this time landed in a tree. As it preened, it searched the area for landmarks it knew. In the distance, another Red-tailed Hawk flew past, not seeing our little guy, but he saw it! Maybe, if it is a female, he will have a family of his own this year. I suspect the first lesson he will teach his young is to avoid those big shiny cars that can hurt you. Perhaps the second will be: Don’t land on metal roofs! Thank you so much to Betty, Len, Erin, Sue, Sherry, and Gail for caring so much about our wild things! All these organizations rely on donations and public funding to support the great work they do. Please consider supporting them when deciding on your gift-giving choices.

A bad place to perch. Photo by Geoff Carpentier.

A bad place to perch. Photo by Geoff Carpentier.

As a side note, please remember that your good intentions may not always be the best option. If you find a wild bird or mammal don’t always presume it needs your help. A baby bird fallen from the nest may be just fine if left alone. Injured animals on the other hand need help, and often the best action you can take is to call someone like Gail, Sherry, Sue, or Erin to seek advice and then decide what to do. If harm is imminent then you should act as Len and Betty did, but always be cautious in your zeal. Never ever try to keep wild animals as pets. It is illegal without special permits and never advantageous to the animal. Their place is in the wild. Whatever you do, if you find an animal in distress, thank you so much for even caring enough to try to help.

Red-tailed Hawk - rehab. bird released in Scugog Twp. 2017-02-20 4-09-27 PM 2692x2767

At home again in the wild. Photo by Geoff Carpentier.

For more information or if you need help with a wild animal:

Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge – www.shadesofhope.ca

National Wildlife Centre – www.nationalwildlifecentre.ca

Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre – www.sandypineswildlife.org

On another quick note, thanks to one of my readers I was alerted of a Great Gray Owl here in Durham–finally! Please keep me posted on other owl sightings!

Geoff Carpentier is a published author, ecotour guide and environmental consultant. Visit Geoff online at www.avocetnatureservices.com and on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Add your comment!

A Walk through Ridgecrest

I recently had the pleasure of housesitting in Southeast Albuquerque, near Nob Hill in the Ridgecrest area. A far cry from where I reside in East Downtown, this neighborhood is comparatively lush with trees, birdfeeders, sprinkler systems and birds. In my neighborhood, the list of bird species that I’ve tallied is fairly minimal—mostly species of dove, namely Rock and Mourning. During my time—and the many walks I took with the dog in my care, Pegasus—I was pleased to spot a few common birds that I don’t often see in my neighborhood.
I was happy to see among these a Downy Woodpecker. As Pegasus and I ambled through a pocket park (of which there are many in Ridgecrest) I heard the staccato cheeps of the bird less than four feet over my head in the low bough of a small tree. Easy to identify, with their checkered black and white wings and a flash of red on the head, I was thrilled to get a close look at the woodpecker before it no longer tolerated the presence of a human and an excitable dog, and flew off.
Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker

As we strolled down the sidewalk of a residential street, I noticed movement in the bushes that bordered an adobe wall that separated the street from someone’s yard. Pausing, and carefully looking into the scrubby foliage, I saw a round-chested gray bird with yellow eyes flitting about, and then pausing to anxiously look back at me. It was a Curve-billed Thrasher, which I have had occasion to see in the foothills, but not often in a more urban environment. The most widespread of western thrashers, this species can make their home in a variety of terrain, which explains its welcome presence in many a yard throughout the city.
Curved-billed Thrasher, Image by Doug Brown

Curved-billed Thrasher, Image by David Powell

Ridgecrest, like East Downtown, is not without its doves, though I spotted a larger population of White-winged Doves in Ridgecrest than other varieties (though I heard many Mourning Doves, too). These lovely square-tailed doves, with perfect scallops of white along the wing edge perched above Pegasus and I along powerlines and in high trees. Increasingly common across the west, you can find these birds
not only in urban environments, but also in open woods and desert thickets.

American Robin, Image by Gail Garber

This neighborhood also boasted a lot of American Robins—which are always a pleasure to hear in the morning—and American Crows. Common as these two are in nearly any neighborhood (literally any neighborhood—just look at a range map for these two species) both resilient birds are fun to watch as they make their way through the world. I suppose that’s the joy of birding in your own neighborhood,
wherever that may be. A walk down local streets, taking time to pause and appreciate what’s common, may present a moment of realization of how amazing it is to coexist so closely—in our own yards and neighborhoods—with such diverse and interesting species of animal.
What birds have you seen in your neighborhood lately?

2016-01-20 08.49.07-1
Maggie Grimason is a writer and editor at Hawks Aloft.

Add your comment!

All About the Christmas Bird Count

The Christmas Bird Count (also abbreviated as CBC) is the longest running citizen science project in the United States. Sponsored by the National Audubon Society, the count is performed annually near the end of December. Many bird experts and aficionados, as well as those of us who simply find ourselves dumbfounded and staring upwards quite regularly, commit to the count each year—but who started it? And why?

The first Christmas Bird Count took place in 1900. It was born in response to a burgeoning environmental movement, but also as a reaction to a noticeably dwindling number of birds. This population decline may have been related to a strong tradition of bird hunting for both sport and sustenance. In fact, prior to 1900, there had been a long-running tradition of going on a bird hunt every Christmas day. (This was known as a “Side Hunt” for some obscure reason.) Frank Chapman, an official at the American Museum of Natural History and an early member of the Audubon Society dreamed that instead of using all that man power for something destructive, like hunting, why not arm people with binoculars and do something productive, like a bird count?

A portrait of ornithologist Frank Chapman, taken for the American Museum Journal

A portrait of ornithologist Frank Chapman, taken for the American Museum Journal

Chapman worked hard to advocate for the Christmas Bird Count and, that year, 27 birders headed out into the field on Christmas morning. From that first bird count, the tradition has held strong, and today, a huge database of information exists from the annual Christmas Bird Counts. Participants from all over the world have joined in, and now these population gauges guide important conservation decisions and research, contributing to the protection of both birds and their habitat in a huge array of regions.

In Albuquerque, there are many established ways to get involved with the bird count.  For example, Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge will be holding one on December 17 from 7am-4pm. More information on that here.  The Albuquerque Count will take place on December 18.  You can also find details on how to participate independently, or look for more groups in your area on the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count webpage.

Photograph by Frank Chapman, from his book "Camps and Cruises of an American Ornithologist," published in 1908

Photograph by Frank Chapman, from his book “Camps and Cruises of an American Ornithologist,” published in 1908

2016-01-20 08.49.07-1


Maggie Grimason is a writer and educator at Hawks Aloft.

Add your comment!

Sandhill Cranes Return Once Again

Image by Steve Vender

Image by Steve Vender

I remember the first Sandhill Crane I ever saw vividly—it was the first winter I lived in New Mexico, nearly six years ago now—near the Rio Grande on south Fourth Street. It was an amazing sight, and continues to be. Second in size only to the Whooping Crane, how could anxious watchers ever cease to be impressed these large, graceful birds? Their gurgling call and shadows cast over the wintry high desert is a sure indication of the changing seasons; without fail, they return year in and year out to New Mexico. Though these large, red-capped bird dependably herald the changing seasons, there is still much to learn about their migration patterns, especially in the face of a warming planet.

Image by Steve Vender

Image by Steve Vender

In New Mexico, the Rocky Mountain Sandhill Crane population’s migration habits are being closely studied by students and researchers at New Mexico State University. As the birds respond to changes in climate that have created water scarcity and loss of wetlands (meaning less habitat) they have taken to traveling back and forth between several wintering areas in New Mexico, in order to find more opportunities for foraging. This is just one observable difference in the behavior of cranes responding to a changing world, and a clear indication of the importance of this kind of research, which reveals essential details about survival rates.

Image by Steve Vender

Image by Steve Vender

With a range that encompasses distant places like Alaska all the way up to Siberia, these stately birds make their way south each autumn to winter in places like New Mexico, even as far south as the state of Durango in Mexico. Winter flocks usually consist of several nuclear families; Sandhill Cranes mate for life, so these may be comprised of parents, their young, and maybe even “grandchildren.” Typically these loose groups will overnight in shallow waters, and during the day forage for a variety of insects, snails, plants and amphibians.

Image by Steve Vender

Image by Steve Vender

A particularly good place to stand in awe of these impressive birds—one of the most ancient species on Earth—is, of course, at Bosque del Apache. Even if you missed out on the Festival of the Cranes, don’t worry, there are still plenty of months to see Sandhill Cranes; they likely won’t start their departure until March. If you have your heart set on a festival, you can put the Monte Vista Crane Festival in the San Luis Valley of Colorado in your planner for March of 2017. Hawks Aloft will be there! Otherwise, just head out your front door to the Rio Grande bosque and look up, you’re likely to glimpse them near water and hear their trumpeting calls, too.

Image by Steve Vender

Image by Steve Vender

2016-01-20 08.49.07-1



Maggie Grimason is a writer and educator at Hawks Aloft

1 comment - Add your comment!

Call for Volunteers!

As we work toward expanding our raptor rescue program to areas in southern New Mexico, in communities like Las Cruces, the need for volunteers to help ensure the wellbeing of raptors of all shapes and sizes is becoming more and more apparent. Raptor rescue coordinators and mitigations experts Emiliano Salazar and Lisa Morgan have already conducted trainings in the Las Cruces area and have equipped a team of local bird-lovers with all the knowledge they need to assess, rescue and transport injured birds in desperate need of attention.

However, Las Cruces is a long drive down I-25 from Albuquerque. Currently, the greatest need that we have in this arena is for transport of these birds from relay points in Socorro and Truth or Consequences to Albuquerque and the expert care of our rehabilitators. If you reside in or around these flashpoint cities, we could use your help!

As a volunteer, you’ll receive recognition in our online newsletter, which is delivered to thousands of bird enthusiasts around the country each and every month. You’ll also receive basic training and the satisfaction that comes with knowing you’ve done some essential work to give an animal the best possible chance at a healthy life.

To get involved as part of our raptor rescue team, contact Raptor Rescue Coordinator Emiliano Salazar at emiliano@hawksaloft.org for details, training dates and more information on how you can help wild birds of prey across New Mexico.

Add your comment!