A few New Mexico birds

Roadrunner, Geococcyx californianus, Rio Grande Bosque, Albuquerque, New Mexico
A roadrunner in the Rio Grande bosque

 

Roadrunners are the New Mexico state bird, and they probably should be Albuquerque's official bird as well. They have adapted well to the Duke City's sprawling suburban areas, and can often be seen in peoples' yards (including my own).

I won't have many bird pictures to share, because that takes way more patience than I have. Instead, I manage a few snapshots taken during chance encounters. Wildflowers are easier; they sit still for you.

 

I'll start with birds of prey. You can jump to waterfowl, woodpeckers and flickers, jays and crows, and other birds

 

If you hover your cursor over the slide shows, you'll see controls for the images. Birders, please feel free to correct my identifications!

 


BIRDS OF PREY

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

 

For a brief video featuring this bald eagle, please click here.


Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii)


Broad-winged Hawk? (Buteo platypterus?)

Broad-winged hawk, Buteo platypterus, and coyote, canis latrans, rio grande bosque, albuquerque, new mexico

 

I'm calling this a possible broad-winged hawk based in part on the single broad white band on the underside of the tail. It's not a good photo but if you look behind the hawk, you can see a coyote on the banks of the Rio Grande. This picture was taken within the Albuquerque city limits.


Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo Jamaicensis)

This immature Red-Tailed Hawk was perched at the top of a low bluff, keeping an eye out for breakfast.


Great Horned Owl (Bubo Virginianus)

 

To see a video that includes the same owl, please click here.


WATERFOWL

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)


Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)


Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)


Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)


Widgeon (Mareca americana)


Cinnamon Teal (Anas Cyanoptera)

 

One photo shows a male and female Cinnamon Teal floating in the observation pool at the Rio Grande Nature Center. The other shows the male going "bottoms up" to reach subsurface food.


Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)

Ruddy Duck, Oxyura jamaicensis
Ruddy Duck

 

On breeding male ruddy ducks, the blue bill stands out! Unfortunately, during my one encounter with a breeding male so far, he was napping with the bill tucked away. The one time he did pull out his bill my photo came out blurred; I'll include it as a thumbnail to the left so you can at least see the color.


Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)


WOODPECKERS AND FLICKERS

Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)

 

The lack of red marks this Hairy Woodpecker as a female. 


Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

 

The final image, of a feather, will show you why Northern Flickers in this part of the country were once known as "Red-shafted Flickers."


JAYS AND CROWS

Woodhouse's Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma woodhouseii)


Canada Jay (formerly Gray Jay) (Perisoreus canadensis)


Raven (Corvus Corax)

 

This bold fellow hangs out in a parking lot and has trained tourists to throw it scraps of food. Ravens' "shaggy throats" help birders distinguish them from crows. In one of the pictures a breeze has stirred the throat feathers, making the throat's "shagginess" more evident. 


OTHER BIRDS

Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)

 

The "Oregon Junco" variant, found across much of the western U.S. including in Albuquerque, has a hood, a brown back, and a reddish patch on each side. The male's hood is dark gray while the female's is light gray. While I found a pair ground-feeding in the Sandia foothills on New Year's Day 2018, in the winter they also come to my back yard in town. I scatter cheap bird seed on the patio slab for their benefit, until they leave in the spring. 


Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana)

 

Not great images, I know, but they show the colorful plumage—including the contrast between the front and the back. This was one of a pair hanging out at Rock Tank. 


Greater Roadrunner, Geococcyx californianus, Albuquerque, New Mexico
A roadrunner on a wall in my back yard