• Slider Image

Birding Locations & Regional Ecosystems

Area Checklists & Map Links

You Need A Permit!! Did you know that you are required to have a permit to use certain wildlife management areas for hiking, biking and bird watching? For locations and the Online Permit Purchase system, visit wildlife.state.nm.us


Local Birder Favorites! 

Enjoy these detailed descriptions of favorite local birds and birding spots of SWNM Audubon chapter birders! Have a favorite local birding spot you'd like to share? Please contact us!


Birding Site Accessibility Features 

In 2023, the SWNM Audubon chapter began conducting site accessibility assessments of popular birding sites in our region. These assessments are possible and available through Birdability, an Audubon-sponsored project dedicated to making birds available to everybody and every body. Check out the regions mapped to date here.

We have also started to add descriptions to each of our bird outings for sites we've assessed. Click here to access this document.

We are committed to continuing this practice and invite you to join us!Are you interested in being a part of this work? We are looking to hear from members who experience
accessibility challenges and for members interested in expanding our list of Birdability maps. Please send us an email and we’ll be in touch.


Birding by Ecosystem

Highland Oak-Juniper Canyons/Hillsides of Gila National Forest

Home to 4 jay species, thrashers, sparrows, vireos, warblers, Wild Turkey.
✔ Silver City, Arenas Valley, Pinos Altos, Gallinas Cyn/Hwy 152

Riparian Valleys with Cottonwood and Willow

Flycatchers, kingbirds, orioles, waterfowl, warblers, swallows, owls, and woodpeckers.

✔ Mimbres River Valley (15 miles E of SC)

✔ Gila River Valley Hwy 180 (25 mi W) [ INFO PDF ]

✔ Iron Bridge Conservation Area Hwy 180 (25 mi W) [ INFO PDF ]

Rolling grassland with mountains and scrub

To our south, large flocks of sparrow in the winter. Twelve or more species are possible in a morning drive along Separ Road.

✔ Separ Road (15 miles SW of SC off Hwy 90)

Chihuahuan desert

Terrain appears quickly southeast of SC. City of Rocks State Park area holds species of wren, thrasher, Long-eared Owls, and Roadrunners.

✔ City of Rocks (10 miles east of SC off Hwy 180)

✔ Floridas, Spring Cyn, Rock Hound St Park (15 miles SE of Deming) [ INFO PDF ]

Above 7000 feet in the Gila Forest

Habitat of mountain spruce and pine, home to unique species such as the Olive and Red-faced Warblers, Painted Redstart. Expect to find three species of nuthatches, vireos, and a variety of woodpeckers.

✔ Cherry Creek/McMillan campgrounds (12 miles N of SC on Hwy 15)

Sonoran desert

Plant communities to the West near the Arizona border hold Gray Vireo, Bell's Vireo, Montezuma Quail, and possibly Abert's Towhee.

✔ Red Rock (25 miles W of SC near the Gila River)


Where are the spotted owls?

Southwestern New Mexico Audubon Society does not share the location of spotted owls. The owls are very sensitive to human interaction and will abandon even long occupied territory and not return. Sadly, we have had this experience when their locations have been shared. This shyness is a reason eBird intentionally does not post spotted owl sightings. Certainly there is much interest in seeing this threatened species, but they are easily permanently driven away. If you do come across a spotted owl, enjoy the experience, but please minimize your contact with the bird, and definitely do not share the location. We would like them to continue to occupy and breed in the habitat they still have available. Thank you for understanding.

Find out what birds are being seen in our region. Use the EXPLORE feature to find bird sightings reported by county or by hotspots. The bar chart feature shows you what birds to expect throughout the year in a region or location. eBird maintains a birding life list for registered users. You can also sign up for notifications of rare bird sightings in the area and for birds you've not yet recorded.

eBird is a project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and is supported entirely by grants, sponsors, and donations.

SWNM Birding Locations by eBird Hotspots

Click on the binoculars to find the link to eBird details

Catron County eBird Hot Spots


Grant County eBird Hot Spots


Hidalgo County eBird Hot Spots


Luna County eBird Hot Spots