western bluebird couple
Year-round birds, like the Western Bluebird, begin to seek nesting sites in April.

Photo by sally king

Days are mostly sunny and nice while nights are still cold. Snow is not unlikely but the storms are usually brief and the snow wet. Trails at lower elevations are mostly clear of snow but ice lingers in protected areas. Mud is common on some trails. This is a good time for longer hikes in the lower elevations of the park. Wildflowers and butterflies become more common along the trails. Year-round birds begin to search for nesting sites. High elevations maintain a good volume of snow but conditions become less favorable for winter activities. Visitation increases with numerous school groups and bus tours arriving in the park.
spring azure on pussy toes
Butterflies should be plentiful in the park by mid-April.

photo by sally king

April 2012

April has been a rollercoaster. One day nice and sunny, the next day snowy or rainy and cold. Pollen is still filling the air so take your allergy medicine before visiting. The turkey vultures have returned and roost nightly in the large cottonwoods near the visitor center. Snow is gone from most elevations and spring flowers are beginning to bloom. Butterflies are flying. Abert's squirrels are being seen regularly even in the island of the parking lot. All loops in Juniper Campground are currently open. Visitation is picking up but has slowed somewhat with most spring breaks being over. Even so with reduce parking available since the fire parking has been filling up in mid day.

cu easter daisies 3
Easter daisies are in full bloom on Burnt Mesa trail.

photo by sally king


Easter Daisies
Heron's Bill
Chiming Bells
Wild Plum
Canada Violet
Golden Smoke
New Mexico Olive

Black-headed Grosbeak
Some summer birds, like the Black-headed Grosbeak, will soon return from their wintering grounds.

photo by sally king


Rock Squirrel*
Eastern Fence Lizard*
Mountain Bluebird
Turkey Vulture*
Yellow-rumped Warbler*
Chipping Sparrow*

*Common park residents that made their first appearance this month after either migrating away for the winter or hibernating.

Abert's Squirrel
Common year-round critters, such as the Abert's Squirrel, can also be seen along park trails.

photo by sally king

Black-necked Stilt
Some birds, such as this Black-necked Stilt not usually seen in this area, often stop by during migration.

photo by sally king

Last updated: April 9, 2012

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Bandelier National Monument
15 Entrance RD

Los Alamos, NM 87544


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