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Attendees at the April chapter meeting lingered for over an hour with Melissa Amarello (center with glasses, dark blue ASP T-shirt) and Jeff Smith (to her left in plaid shirt) to chat about snakes.

SWNMA Appreciates Snakes

The April monthly program, The Social Lives of Rattlesnakes, was attended by a record crowd of people. Presenter Melissa Amarello showed numerous video clips and photographs of two different dens of Arizona Black Rattlesnakes. Detailed analysis of the videos, that took over two years to complete, indicates that they form associations that can be termed “friendships.” The goal of ASP is to change people’s attitudes towards snakes, just as other groups have positively influenced attitudes about sharks, spiders and bats. The crowd was also enthralled by the two live snakes that Melissa and Advocates for Snake Preservation (ASP) co-founder Jeff Smith brought to the meeting as ambassadors of goodwill.

House for WRENt

On a beautiful spring day in early April members of SWNMA gathered in the Big Ditch to provide new homes for wrens that live in Silver City’s Big Ditch Park. Members who helped put up the houses were; Greg Baker, Rachelle Bergmann, Allison Boyd, Sara Boyett, Susan Brown, Wiley Hudson, Diane Maughan, Chris Overlock, and Terry Timme. Steve Smith visiting from Albuquerque also joined in the fun.

A grant from New Mexico Clean and Beautiful to the Town of Silver City provided funds to purchase the cedar wren houses. Both House wrens and Bewick’s wrens frequent the area. Both are welcome to take up residence. SWNMA will not be charging them any rent. Photos left to right: Allison Boyd, Rachelle Bergmann, Chris Overlock

BIRDATHON To Raise Funds

Audubon NM is sponsoring a statewide 2018 Birdathon, an opportunity for SWNMA members to help earn donations for our chapter and support citizen science. The Birdathon, similar to Big Weekends held by SWNMA, is limited to only one day during the first three weeks of May. Five teams from Northern and Central New Mexico and three from our SWNM chapter going head to head to find as many birds as possible in a contiguous 24-hour period.

Teams descriptions are on → nm.audubon.org and please make a donation → nm.audubon.org in support of your chosen team(s). Half of your donation(s) go back to the local chapter your team represents.

We have top birders on the SWNM Audubon teams!

  1. Team Buff: Jarrod Swackhamer & Jess DeMoss / Mascot: Buff-breasted flycatcher.
  2. Team Black-cap: Julian Lee & Lynn Haugen / Mascot: Black-capped vireo.
  3. Team Mexican spotted owl: Megan Ruehmann & John Moeny / Mascot: Mexican spotted owl

28th ABA Checklist Committee Report

. . . a hummingbird with two verified north American records, will be acceptable as being “countable” on your North American ABA area list. The Amethyst-throated hummingbird (Lampornis amethystinus) normally resides in Mexico and Honduras. It will be placed on the list between Plain-capped Starthroat and Blue-throated hummingbirds.

The Pine flycatcher (Emidonax affinis) was found in 2016 in the Santa Rita mountains in Arizona, where it unsuccessfully attempted to nest with a Cordilleran flycatcher. It will be placed between Dusky and Pacific-slope flyctchers on the ABA list.

There is also a “split” from the Red crossbill (Loxia curvirostra). This newly separated crossbill is called Cassia crossbill (L. sinesciuris). It is recognized as being endemic to the South Hills and Albion mountains of Idaho. Its large bill has resulted from co-evolution with thicker pine cone seeds, mediated by a lack of red squirrels in the region. The scientific name sinesciuris translates to “without squirrels.” It will follow Red crossbill on the ABA list. 

Magnificent no more!

The Magnificent hummingbird was named in honor of the Duke of Rivoli, after it was described in the 1920s - the Anna’s hummingbird is named after his wife, the Duchess of Rivoli. It remained “Rivoli’s hummingbird” until the mid-1980s when it was re-named Magnificent. This most recent Supplement has split Magnificent hummingbird into the Rivoli’s and Talamanca hummingbird (the latter is found in Costa Rica)...

This split separates birds of southern Central America from those of Mexico, the U.S., and northern Middle America. Rivoli’s hummingbird (Eugenes fulgens) is found in pine–oak woodlands from the southwestern U.S. south to northern Nicaragua; adult males have a peridot-colored (yellow-green) throat and blackish underparts. Talamanca hummingbird (Eugenes spectabilis) is found in cloudforest and high oak forests of Costa Rica and western Panama; adult males have a turquoise- or teal-colored throat and dark green underparts. The latter was originally named “Admirable hummingbird” by Robert Ridgway, but his suggestion was unheeded. Instead, Eugenes spectabilis has been named for the Talamanca Mountains of eastern Costa Rica.

This split raises the not particularly serious question of what to call a Berylline X Magnificent hybrid, which birders had playfully dubbed “Beryificent Hummingbird”. Berivoli’s? Riviline?  Photo: naturespicsonline.com

Email notices sent 3-7 days in advance - Monthly field trips sometimes miss good birding opportunities. To take advantage of great weather, when birds or butterflies abound, we started "Spur-of -the-moment Field Trips."
A notice is emailed to SWNMA members 3-7 days in advance, indicating where and when to meet and the destination. Watch for email, especially during migration season.
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