Birds of Aztec Ruins National Monument
The riparian and pinon-juniper woodland areas, along with patches of once-cultivated grassy fields, orchards, and desert scrub all provide diverse habitats for birdlife in the park.
As part of the National Park Service’s Natural Resources Initiative, ornithologists conducted bird inventories in the park in 2001 and 2002. In addition, a multi-park grant from the National Park Foundation and Hawks Aloft provided for a survey in 2002 of neotropical migrant breeding birds. Prior to these recent inventories, volunteers from the local Audubon Society had compiled a bird checklist for the park that listed 74 species.
During the 2001 field season, a total of 53 species were detected. Of these species, 40 were in riparian habitats, and 14 of those were detected only in riparian zones. Thirty-seven species were detected in upland habitat, 12 of which were only found in uplands. Although no federally listed species of concern were detected, one State of New Mexico species of concern was detected, the yellow-billed cuckoo.
During the 2002 breeding season, a total of 58 species were detected, including six species previously undetected in the park. The yellow-billed cuckoo was not detected during this season. The two years of inventory yielded a detection of 63 species within the park.
Species detected in 2001-2002 during the bird inventory are listed below:
Black-crowned Night Heron
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Western Scrub Jay
Did You Know?
Aztec Ruins lies near the banks of the "River of Lost Souls." In 1776, a Spanish exploration party noted many ancestral Pueblo ruins as they crossed the Animas River valley looking for California. Father Escalante named the stream "Rio de las Animas Perdidas," or "river of lost souls."