Painted Redstart
Painted Redstart

Painted Redstart Photo: Theresa Bayoud, Audubon Photography Awards
Painted Redstart Photo: Theresa Bayoud, Audubon Photography Awards


Audubon New Mexico Birdathon 2020 Report

Birdathon participants counted over 215 species in 19 counties, spanning habitats across the state.

Most years, Birdathon involves teams of birders who collect pledges and donations from friends and family to then go out and try to observe as many species as they can in a day. Due to the current crisis, we made some adjustments to consider the health and economic impacts to our communities.

In the spirit of community and getting outside, we wanted anyone and everyone to embrace the joy of birding, regardless of birding skill or experience. This year, we encouraged birders across the state to put their talents to work while social distancing to see how many species they could see during the Global Big Day on Saturday, May 9th.

Throughout the day, Audubon New Mexico compiled a master list on eBird. We also posted updates from our participating staff on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This year, we gathered all the results and some stories from the day. 

Overall Count

Throughout Saturday, May 9th, 2020, Audubon NM staff and supporters collaboratively counted 215 species across the state and in 19 counties! An estimated 47 participants submitted over 90 checklists, spanning habitats across the state and starting as early as 3am and as late as 8pm.

Birdathon map 2020

Thanks to everyone who participated this year, including: Lonnie Howard, J Fine, Sonja Mendoza, Stephen Knox, Deanna Nichols, Tom Taylor, Rick Rockman, Michael Trietler, Kim Straus, Perrianne Houghton, CJ Goin, James Lofton, Anne Beckett, Vicki Dern, Margaret Dean, Brenda Proffitt, Annie Mitchell, Jodi Addis, Kathleen Blair, Jan Richmond, and staff members: Amy Erickson, Jon Hayes, Katie Weeks, Mario Garcia, Stella Reed, Sally Maxwell, Desiree Loggins, and Quinn Martine.

Top Birdathoners

Chrisopher Rustay & Ruth Burstrom (117 Species)

"Lincoln County is an under-birded county with a lot of potential, and more importantly a lot of BLM and USFS land that had not been shut down. Working within the limits imposed by the state, we got out of bed around 2 am on Saturday, May 9, and left Albuquerque at 3 am. We were hoping for night birds and were rewarded with a Barn Owl flying over the road near Estancia as we headed towards the aptly named town of Corona.

Our first stop was in the Gallina Mountains, just outside of Corona. A strong wind skunked our attempt to hear any nightbirds, but we had a nice assortment of forest birds wandering through USFS Red Cloud Campground, including a singing Olive Warbler - perhaps the third record for Lincoln County!  As we left the ponderosas behind, birding pinyon-juniper forest and getting a number of P-J birds the wind died down. Several stops along Highway 54 to Carizozo yielded Chihuahuan Raven, Swainson's Hawk and several sparrow species, including Cassin's Sparrow and a few displaying Lark Buntings.

Lark Bunting
Lark Bunting Photo: Evan Barrietos

The BLM's Fort Stanton - Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area is a large, relatively unknown area between Capitan and Hondo found along Hwy 380. While we were skunked on a Common Black-Hawk we did pick up a Virginia Rail and Gray Catbird at riparian marsh there and in the surrounding riparian forests found lots of migrants including Rose-breasted Grosbeak and two Nashville Warblers. We ended out Lincoln County effort with just over 100 species.

Thinking that our list would be greatly improved by hitting a large water area, we jumped in the car and headed over to Bitter Lake NWR where the tour route was open. We added about 14 species including Least Tern, before we headed up to Fort Sumner where we missed the Hudsonian Godwits reported there, but added Blue Jay to our total. We decided to end our day after 14 hours and headed back to Albuquerque, logging a Long-billed Curlew chasing after a Raven while traveling on I-40!  Considering the restrictions that were in place, we felt that 117 species was a pretty good day!”

Megan Ruehmann (101 Species)

Blue Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak Photo: Kenneth Salazar. Audubon Photography Awards

Honors for counting the second highest number of species goes to Megan Ruehmann, who observed 101 species, all in Grant County! Megan is one of our wonderful Audubon NM Board Members, a trained wildlife biologist, and enthusiastic bird nerd. Her sixteen checklists started at 5:20am, and took her all around Silver City and the Gila National Forest. She found some great birds including a Western Screech Owl, Painted Redstart, and a Blue Grosbeak.

Owen Sinkus (89 Species)

Black-bellied Whistling Duck
Black-bellied Whistling Duck Photo: Kyle Fritz. Audubon Photography Awards

Our third highest counter for the day was Owen Sinkus, one of the amazing young birders and photographers we have in New Mexico. Like all our top Birdathoners, Owen started before dawn and covered the most distance of anyone, visiting Eastern hotspots including Goodwin Playa, the Clovis Water Treatment Plant, Melrose Woods and Bitter Lake NWR. Some notable birds included Mississippi Kites, Eared Grebes, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, and Hudsonian Godwits.

Audubon New Mexico Staff

Our Executive Director, Jon Hayes, started his Birdathon day as soon as he was awake! “Seven species before I finished my first cup of coffee, species 1-3 while still in bed... Including White-winged Dove, House Finch, Scaled Quail, Woodhouse’s Scrub Jay, Canyon Towhee, Black-headed Grosbeak, and Black-chinned Hummingbird.” After leaving his backyard, Jon headed uphill into the Sandia Mountains. He hiked up to Tunnel Springs, noticing the springs running strong, and added 13 more species to his count, including Pinyon Jays, one of our species of concern for woodland habitats.

Executive Director, Jon Hayes & wife Callie
Executive Director, Jon Hayes & wife Callie

 Our Office & Outreach Manager, Stella Reed and her family went birding around their backyard, Martinez Park, and the western portion of the Santa Fe River Trail. Her granddaughters even got in on the action, with the kindergartner spotting a Say's Phoebe! One of the great things about this year’s new Birdathon format was that it was geared toward getting participation from all levels of birding skill and getting folks outside to appreciate nature.

Stella's family
Stella's family Photo: Stella Reed

Mario Garcia, Facilities Assistant at the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary, completed his checklist from his home along the Rio Grande in Rio Arriba County. His highlight was a Golden Eagle flying around the house for 15 minutes!

Mario Garcia
Mario Garcia

Amy Erickson, our Avian Biologist, started birding at 7am. She started at the Socorro Riverine Parks and Bosque Trail before heading out to New Mexico Tech Campus and the Belen Marsh. Some of her highlights were Orange-Crowned Warblers, Black-Necked Stilts, and a Mallard leading her newly hatched chicks into the marsh.

Katie Weeks and her companion, Penny
Katie Weeks and her companion, Penny

Katie Weeks, our Director of Community Education, went hunting for a Worm-Eating Warbler in Los Alamos that morning, but instead found Wilson’s, MacGillivary’s, Grace’s, and even a Black-and-White Warbler. She later spent time in her neighborhood patch at the dog park, accompanied by an unenthusiastic canine birding partner.  

Sally Maxwell
Sally Maxwell

Sally Maxwell, Education Specialist, started her day of birding on Upper Canyon Road next to the Randall Davey Audubon Center & Sanctuary where she spotted resident Black-billed Magpies and Red-winged Blackbirds. After moving on to Abiquiu, she added Cedar Waxwings, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and a Western Tanager to her list.

Desiree Loggins
Desiree Loggins

Network Action Manager, Desiree Loggins started the day birding her back yard where she saw both Lewis and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers. In the Galisteo Basin Preserve, Desiree had a great look at a Juniper Titmouse, one of our species of concern.

Quantina Martine, Water Resource Associate, spent her day along the Rio birding one of our conservation sites at Los Chavez Wasteway. She spotted some classic river species like Wood Ducks, Black-crowned Night Herons, and even a Bald Eagle flying overhead. 

Black-crowned Night Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron Photo: Kevin Rutherford, Audubon Photography Awards

 Thanks to everyone who participated this year. Many of us are struggling with grief, caregiving, isolation, frustration, and uncertainty during these times. We hope that by coming together as a community we have been able to provide some moments of collective happiness through our love of birds and the outdoors. At Audubon New Mexico, we continue to fight to preserve our natural habitats and the birds and wildlife that depend on them. If you are able, please consider a donation to help us with that mission.

Total Species List for NM Birdathon 2020

1          Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

2          Ross's Goose

3          Canada Goose

4          Wood Duck

5          Blue-winged Teal

6          Cinnamon Teal

7          Northern Shoveler

8          Gadwall

9          American Wigeon

10        Mallard

11        Mexican Duck

12        Green-winged Teal

13        Redhead

14        Ruddy Duck

15        Scaled Quail

16        Gambel's Quail

17        Wild Turkey

18        Pied-billed Grebe

19        Eared Grebe

20        Rock Pigeon

21        Band-tailed Pigeon

22        Eurasian Collared-Dove

23        White-winged Dove

24        Mourning Dove

25        Greater Roadrunner

26        Common Nighthawk

27        Mexican Whip-poor-will

28        Chimney Swift

29        White-throated Swift

30        Black-chinned Hummingbird

31        Broad-tailed Hummingbird

32        Virginia Rail

33        Sora

34        American Coot

35        Black-necked Stilt

36        American Avocet

37        Snowy Plover

38        Killdeer

39        Long-billed Curlew

40        Hudsonian Godwit

41        Western Sandpiper

42        Long-billed Dowitcher

43        Wilson's Phalarope

44        Spotted Sandpiper

45        Franklin's Gull

46        Ring-billed Gull

47        Least Tern

48        Common Loon

49        Neotropic Cormorant

50        Double-crested Cormorant

51        Great Blue Heron

52        Snowy Egret

53        Green Heron

54        Black-crowned Night-Heron

55        White-faced Ibis

56        Turkey Vulture

57        Osprey

58        Golden Eagle

59        Mississippi Kite

60        Sharp-shinned Hawk

61        Cooper's Hawk

62        Bald Eagle

63        Common Black Hawk

64        Swainson's Hawk

65        Zone-tailed Hawk

66        Red-tailed Hawk

67        Barn Owl

68        Western Screech-Owl

69        Great Horned Owl

70        Belted Kingfisher

71        Red-naped Sapsucker

72        Lewis's Woodpecker

73        Red-headed Woodpecker

74        Acorn Woodpecker

75        Downy Woodpecker

76        Ladder-backed Woodpecker

77        Hairy Woodpecker

78        Northern Flicker

79        American Kestrel

80        Peregrine Falcon

81        Olive-sided Flycatcher

82        Western Wood-Pewee

83        Willow Flycatcher

84        Gray Flycatcher

85        Dusky Flycatcher

86        Cordilleran Flycatcher

87        Black Phoebe

88        Say's Phoebe

89        Vermilion Flycatcher

90        Dusky-capped Flycatcher

91        Ash-throated Flycatcher

92        Brown-crested Flycatcher

93        Cassin's Kingbird

94        Western Kingbird

95        Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

96        Bell's Vireo

97        Gray Vireo

98        Cassin's Vireo

99        Plumbeous Vireo

100      Warbling Vireo

101      Loggerhead Shrike

102      Pinyon Jay

103      Steller's Jay

104      Blue Jay

105      Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay

106      Mexican Jay

107      Black-billed Magpie

108      American Crow

109      Chihuahuan Raven

110      Common Raven

111      Black-capped Chickadee

112      Mountain Chickadee

113      Bridled Titmouse

114      Juniper Titmouse

115      Verdin

116      Horned Lark

117      Northern Rough-winged Swallow

118      Purple Martin

119      Tree Swallow

120      Violet-green Swallow

121      Bank Swallow

122      Barn Swallow

123      Cliff Swallow

124      Cave Swallow

125      Bushtit

126      Golden-crowned Kinglet

127      Ruby-crowned Kinglet

128      Red-breasted Nuthatch

129      White-breasted Nuthatch

130      Pygmy Nuthatch

131      Brown Creeper

132      Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

133      Rock Wren

134      Canyon Wren

135      House Wren

136      Marsh Wren

137      Bewick's Wren

138      Cactus Wren

139      European Starling

140      Gray Catbird

141      Curve-billed Thrasher

142      Northern Mockingbird

143      Eastern Bluebird

144      Western Bluebird

145      Mountain Bluebird

146      Townsend's Solitaire

147      Swainson's Thrush

148      Hermit Thrush

149      American Robin

150      Cedar Waxwing

151      Phainopepla

152      Olive Warbler

153      House Sparrow

154      American Pipit

155      Evening Grosbeak

156      House Finch

157      Cassin's Finch

158      Red Crossbill

159      Pine Siskin

160      Lesser Goldfinch

161      American Goldfinch

162      Cassin's Sparrow

163      Chipping Sparrow

164      Clay-colored Sparrow

165      Black-chinned Sparrow

166      Black-throated Sparrow

167      Lark Sparrow

168      Lark Bunting

169      Dark-eyed Junco

170      White-crowned Sparrow

171      White-throated Sparrow

172      Vesper Sparrow

173      Song Sparrow

174      Lincoln's Sparrow

175      Canyon Towhee

176      Rufous-crowned Sparrow

177      Spotted Towhee

178      Yellow-breasted Chat

179      Yellow-headed Blackbird

180      Western Meadowlark

181      Eastern Meadowlark

182      Orchard Oriole

183      Bullock's Oriole

184      Scott's Oriole

185      Red-winged Blackbird

186      Bronzed Cowbird

187      Brown-headed Cowbird

188      Brewer's Blackbird

189      Common Grackle

190      Great-tailed Grackle

191      Black-and-white Warbler

192      Orange-crowned Warbler

193      Lucy's Warbler

194      Nashville Warbler

195      Virginia's Warbler

196      MacGillivray's Warbler

197      Common Yellowthroat

198      Yellow Warbler

199      Yellow-rumped Warbler

200      Grace's Warbler

201      Black-throated Gray Warbler

202      Townsend's Warbler

203      Wilson's Warbler

204      Red-faced Warbler

205      Painted Redstart

206      Hepatic Tanager

207      Summer Tanager

208      Western Tanager

209      Northern Cardinal

210      Rose-breasted Grosbeak

211      Black-headed Grosbeak

212      Blue Grosbeak

213      Lazuli Bunting

214      Indigo Bunting

215      Painted Bunting


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