The variety of habitats within El Morro offer birding enthusiasts an opportunity to see birds aplenty. More than 180 speceis have been documented at the monument, and depending on the season, there is no telling what you may encounter. Raptors, woodpeckers, tanagers, warblers, wrens and more can be found while wandering the trails. Bring your binoculars and camera, ask for a birding checklist at the Visitor Center, and keep a sharp lookout while strolling the trails.
NPS Photo Dale Dombrowski
One of the birds that visitors frequently see (and hear) at El Morro is the common raven (Corvus corax). Don't let that name fool you though because ravens are anything but common and are among the smartest of all birds. Ravens are larger than crows (often weighing four times more than a crow) and have shaggy throat feathers that are noticeable especially when they are vocalizing.
Ravens are considered omnivores, but they mainly eat meat and scavenge for carrion, forage in garbage piles, and prey on rodents and the eggs and nestlings of other birds. Sometimes they will eat seeds and grain. Ravens are acrobatic flyers and you can sometimes see them doing somersaults, rolls and even flying upside down! Ravens appear in numerous Native American stories and legends.
Did You Know?
El Morro National Monument's avian claim to fame is the White-throated Swift, which was described to science for the very first time here in 1851, by Dr. S. W. Woodhouse of the Sitgreaves Expedition.