Tsankawi Trail Stop 18

images of 4 birds, all gray or black
Birds of Tsankawi, from left to right, Juniper Titmouse, Townsend Solitaire, Common Raven, Turkey Vulture (below)

Photos by Sally King

Stop 18: The Piñon-Juniper Woodland supports a great diversity of wildlife that can sustain itself in the driest of the life zones in Bandelier National Monument. Lizards, including short-horned lizards and eastern fence lizards are common on warm days. As cold-blooded creatures, these lizards hibernate in colder seasons. On warm spring days watch for these scaly beasts as the warming air entices them from their protective refuges to lounge upon a sunbaked rock. Some birds, such as the Juniper Titmouse and Townsend’s solitaire, also find the smaller vegetation of the Piñon-Juniper Woodland to their liking. In summer, turkey vultures enjoy the thermal updrafts near the mesas of Tsankawi. Watch for their large dark wings with trailing white held in a V as they soar over you. Do not worry. Vultures like their meat old and fetid. They are not considering you as a possible snack.

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closeup of the face of a colorful lizard with horns
Horned lizard at Tsankawi

Photo by Sally King

Last updated: January 16, 2022

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Bandelier National Monument
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