Bird conservation emerged as a national priority in the early 1900’s when scientific evidence showed that humans could negatively impact the long-term sustainability of bird populations. While now protected by a variety of government regulations, native bird populations continue to decline at alarming rates — a third of North America’s bird populations declined during the last half of the 20th century. Conservation efforts remain of critical importance. Hawks Aloft is involved in a number of local and regional conservation efforts.
Middle Rio Grande Bosque Restoration
Riparian corridors in arid environments, including New Mexico, provide critical habitat for birds and other wildlife, including many species of conservation concern. The Middle Rio Grande bosque (riparian woodland) provides important habitat for over 280 species of birds that use the area for nesting, migrating, and wintering. Management issues such as the removal of exotic vegetation, fire prevention, water conservation, and development are ongoing in the bosque and adjacent lands. Numerous restoration projects related to these issues impact the bosque ecosystem and, subsequently, the avian populations that reside there. We work with government agencies and organizations conducting riparian restoration to ensure that their activities do not adversely affect raptors and songbirds that depend on this vital habitat.
New Mexico Avian Protection Working Group
Hawks Aloft was instrumental in the formation of this collaborative effort, comprised of representatives from government agencies, publicly owned utilities, rural electric cooperatives, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The goal of NMAP is to reduce avian mortalities due to electrocution and collision with power lines. To this end, we have held five regional conferences to educate industry personnel. In addition, Hawks Aloft staff authored a document that contains basic avian biological information necessary for the development of an Avian Protection Plan (APP) and offer it free of charge to all utility companies. We also have developed and implemented Avian Safety Training classes for rural electric cooperatives, other companies, and government agencies. Learn more at www.nmavianprotection.org.
New Mexico Avian Conservation Partners
Formerly called New Mexico Partners in Flight, this group maintains a website devoted to avian conservation and management issues —www.nmpartnersinflight.org. The website contains the New Mexico Bird Conservation Plan (compiled by Hawks Aloft) and facilitates communication among researchers, land managers, conservation organizations and the general public.
Species Specific Conservation
We actively participate in special focus groups to develop conservation plans for specific species or to promote awareness of the issues relative to certain animals, such as the Gray Vireo, Burrowing Owl, Ferruginous Hawk, and Black-tailed and Gunnison’s prairie dog.