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Book Review

Common Birds of Southwest New Mexico
Where and when to find them

By Tony B. Godfrey

This handy book is the first in a series by Certified Interpretive Guide and park technician at City of Rocks State Park, Tony Godfrey. The guide describes ten convenient locations that provide a glimpse at the diversity of birding spots in this region – from desert to mountain to lakeside. Visitors to Southwest NM will find useful the directions to each location and the facilities they offer. A nice feature for tourists and locals is the guide to the common birds you can find at each location based on the season.

 The highlight of the book is the excellent photographs. If you have seen any of Tony’s presentations at our meetings, you know that he is an outstanding photographer. The book includes photos of 157 species with a brief description of the habitat you might find them in and when and where to look.

This book is not meant to replace a comprehensive field guide for identifying birds, but it could become a valuable addition to your bird book library and would also be a great gift to entice visitors to enjoy the birds of our region. A parallel volume titled Butterflies and Dragonflies of Southwest New Mexico is also likely to be just as beautiful and useful.  Information on obtaining both is available at City of Rocks State Park or by visiting, FieldAndSiteGuides.com.

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

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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