Using funding from the Share with Wildlife program, Kirsten and Octavio are inventorying birds found in mountain ranges around New Mexico. They are specifically targeting habitats suitable for the Grace’s and Red-faced warblers, both of which are understudied and in need of a more accurate state-wide population estimate.
These avian experts have been traversing 2 mile long transects and stopping at up to 20 points per transect in a number of mountain ranges, including the Jemez, Sacramento, and Sangre de Cristo Mountains. They listen for 10 minutes at each point and record all bird species they hear or see during that time. Recording up to 15 species of birds in 10 minutes and, for some surveys, over 30 species in a 4 hour period while traversing areas that are often overgrown and have downed trees is no small feat! It is truly remarkable that these researchers can gather so much data on species occurrence and abundance without having to catch a single bird. They will ultimately be providing data that is useful not only for management of the two focal bird species, but that can inform the Department-maintained, publicly accessible Biota Information System of New Mexico (BISON-M), a database of over 6,000 species found in New Mexico.