Río Embudo Birds

Learning the Birds of the Río Embudo


The most common way to learn the birds in a given area is to use one of the common field guides. For beginners, this sometimes requires looking through the entire field guide, page by page, until the observed species is found.

A critical part of this procedure is to use the guide's range maps which show you whether a given species is present in your area at a particular time.

But even if a range map shows a species present in your region, the bird may only reside at certain altitudes or in certain kinds of habitat. In some cases, a species may be breeding high in the mountains during the summer, but then move down into the lowland river valleys during the winter.

This is where "Learning the Birds of the Río Embudo" comes in. The various lists provide very local detail about what species are where, when, and which are more common than others.

How to get started.

Begin with the "All-Year" birds. Everyone knows the names of some of the common species such as the Robin or Crow or Red-tailed Hawk. By the time you are comfortable with identifying these common species, you will probably find it relatively easy to identify less familiar species. It just requires slowing down and paying attention to details.

The links above this overview lead to lists of birds with local photos of most species. Accompanying comments (these will increase over time) point out distinguishing characteristics of each species.

If you have one of the common field guides to birds, consult it for more information.

Detailed information is available electronically by following the links for external sites on each species' list entries:

If you are a beginnner, you may want to use the lists as flashcards, covering the name with one hand or covering the photo and trying to describe the bird.

This internet resource is no substitute for getting outside. Start looking for the details you see here on the birds in nature. An hour spent sitting at the computer is not the same as an hour spent walking along the river!

Source of Data:

The groupings of the lists are primarily based on three sets of data:

The first is the Audubon Christmas Bird Count which has been held in the Embudo area for the last 16 years. The count area includes Dixon, Cañoncito, Apodaca, Embudo, Rinconada and Velarde. This link will display (or right click to download) the complete data for all 16 years of the count: Dixon CBC Data Compilation 1997-2012

The second is based on my own records during all seasons in the Embudo area. These data include lists from walks in almost every part of the Dixon CBC Count Circle. A fundamental data set is from a five year period from 1999 to 2003 when I was birding along the Río Embudo, 2-4 hours per day, 3-5 days per week. A second data set is from a study I am doing on the Río Ojo Sarco. That study is in its 7th year.

The third data set is from Jack Whetstone, a resident of Dixon from 1969 until 1976. Jack kept detailed records of his bird sightings during that time when he regularly observed in all parts of the Embudo area. He also kept records on Summer trips he made to Dixon in 1977, 1978, 1981 and 1987. He also spent the winter of 1987-88 here.

Development and Feedback

This web feature is meant for your use. In particular, it is meant for residents of the Embudo area. If you live in Española or Taos, most of the information will be valid for your area as well. It is not necessary for you to travel to another location to see most of these species. If you are in Northern New Mexico, these birds are in your area.

If you have ideas or suggestions for content, navigation or any other aspect that would enhance your experience, they are likely to be incorporated. To give feedback, please contact Robert Templeton at 579-4095 or rt@rioembudobirds.org .

About the Photographs

Most of the photographs in these lists were taken within the Dixon CBC area. For those that are not, the location is noted below the picture. When local photographs are not available, use is made of public domain photographs, most of which come from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

If no photo credit is shown, the photo was taken by Robert Templeton. All other photographers are credited below their photos. Over time, it is hoped that all of the photos on the site will be of local birds. If you have photos you would like to contribute, please contact Robert Templeton at 579-4095 or    rt@rioembudobirds.org .

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