Welcome - Bienvenidos!
The Southwestern New Mexico Audubon Society serves communities in Catron, Grant, Hidalgo and Luna counties; these include Silver City, Deming, Lordsburg, Glenwood, Cliff, Reserve, the Mimbres Valley, and the Gila National Forest.
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Awaiting a Safe Return
Drink, drink tee-eee..... a Spotted Towhee merrily serenaded another on an unusually warm day in February. As I strolled along the trail behind my house, other birds were singing as well: numerous House Finches, White- winged Doves and Curve-billed Thrashers. Every year, I’m pleasantly startled by the lovely bird song denoting the coming of spring while at the same time, nervous about their arduous journey to arrive safely. One particular species that is close to my heart is the Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota). Community members and I have been keeping a close eye on these graceful flyers and their nesting habits at Western New Mexico University for seven years. Due to other obligations, I decided to observe the birds during the even numbered years and take off in the odd years.
So now, in 2024, I will be recruiting volunteers to assist me in making observations to determine how many nesting pairs there are and how many young fledge each year.
It’s important for university staff to know that our community cares about these birds in order to keep them safe. I will be giving a presentation titled Managing for Increased Depredation of a Colonial Cliff Swallow Colony on Western New Mexico University Campus at the Gila Natural History Symposium on Wednesday, March 28th at 2:20pm. It will be a time to learn about this project and ask questions. If you would like to volunteer with this project, please contact Carol Ann Fugagli at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
No experience necessary! Just an inquisitive mind! - Carol Ann Fugagli
Member Spotlight: Jackie Blurton
Jackie Blurton has been a SWNMA chapter member for over 30 years, contributing her time and many talents to our birding community in considerable ways. A gifted artist, Jackie has created bird guides and activity booklets for local kids and families on a range of topics, from swallows to feathers to habitat. She’s organized creative projects to engage visitors at the Audubon table at local events like Earth Day and Victorian Christmas. For nine years, Jackie’s pen and ink drawings accompanied Roland Shook’s weekly nature articles in the Silver City Daily Press. Perhaps you’ve purchased her two booklets of these illustrations, “From Our Place to Yours,” at the Grant County Art Guild Gallery.
Jackie served on the SWNM Audubon Board in the late 90’s and has been a leader in local community science birding projects. She organized the Silver City Christmas Bird Count (CBC) for several years and has been a leader on Silver City and Gila River CBC and HMANA Winter Raptor Survey routes for many years running.
Jackie has been interested in birds since she was a child growing up in Albuquerque. Though she stepped away from birding as a young adult, Jackie rediscovered her love of birds when she and her husband moved to Silver City and joined our Audubon chapter. She has dedicated energy to restoring a bird-friendly habitat at home. Starting in 2019, Jackie started digging up and clearing out the horehound weeds that had invaded a wide swath of their property. Each year, the huge roots of the horehounds soaked up water, killing off native plants. Today, she reaps the joy of keeping a plot of pinyon pines, junipers, and cholla in its natural state. Thick grasses and wolf berry bushes now grow in place of weeds, attracting deer, birds, and lizards to their yard. Jackie has found this practice to be life-giving. She declares that the feeling we get when we nurture something is as much for us as it is for the birds.
We’re beyond grateful for all that Jackie has brought and continues to bring to our chapter!