little red columbine
Little Red Columbine blooms in the upper reaches of Frijoles Canyon in mid-May.

Photo by sally king

By May snow is uncommon but not impossible. Days are usually warm and sunny. Summer birds such as grosbeaks, tanagers, and flycatchers return. Wildflowers and butterflies are abundant. Daytime temperatures in May are warm but rarely hot. Nighttime temperatures can still be cool. Lingering snow and ice is gone from most trails except at the highest elevations. Visitation is moderate with many school groups and tour buses. Summer season begins Memorial Day weekend with expanded visitor center hours and more frequent interpretive programs. The parking lots sometimes fill over this holiday weekend.
northern parula 2
Migratory birds are being seen in the park.

photo by sally king

May 2011
The month started with snow on May 1st but temperatures have moderated since and it is feeling much more like late spring. Summer birds are returning to the park and are actively looking for nesting sites. Some migratory species have stopped by for a rest before continuing onto their nesting grounds further north. Black bears have been active so make sure not to leave food where they can steal it. Snow is gone from all areas of the park except the top of Cerro Grande. Some beautiful flowers are blooming but an extremely dry winter has limited their number. There are currently no fire restrictions in place but that may change very soon if dry conditions continue. Remember, smoking is only permitted on the trail in areas clear of vegetation for a minimum of 5'.
Sego Lily
Wildflower season has begun.

photo by sally king

Canada Violet
Chiming Bells (almost done)
Big Golden Pea
Claretcup Cactus
Perky Sue
Purple Penstemon (very limited this year)
Easter Daisies (almost done)
Indian Paintbrush
Western Wallflower
Little Red Columbine
Apache Plume
Evening Primrose
Sego Lily
Short-horned lizard
Short-horned lizards are active again in the Pinon-Juniper woodland.

photo by sally king

Wilson's Warbler*
Northern Parula
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Black-headed Grosbeak*
Western Tanager*
Hepatic Tanager*
Plumbeous Vireo*
Virginia's Warbler*
Orange-crowned Warbler*
Bullock's Oriole
Say's Phoebe*
Ash-throated Flycatcher*
Western Diamondback Rattlesnake*
Whiptail Lizard*
Short-horned Lizard*
Yellow-rumped Warbler*
Wilson's Phalarope
Spotted Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper

*This is a common summer species first seen this month after either migrating away for the winter or hibernating.

rose breasted grosbeak 2
Mixed in with our local summer resident Black-headed Grosbeak we recently spotted a Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

photo by sally king

aberts squirrel
Abert's squirrels, which were for some reason unexplainable absent last year, are being seen frequently on the Main Loop and Alcove House trails.

photo by sally king

Last updated: March 31, 2012

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Bandelier National Monument
15 Entrance RD

Los Alamos, NM 87544


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