The El Paso/Trans-Pecos Audubon Society recently did some birding at the Rio Bosque Wetlands Park. Here is what they saw:
Merlin ( Prairie Female )
That's a pretty impressive list of birds. I want to make two points: first, birding is fun. There is something about being able to identify a species that is, in and of itself, rewarding. Next, well, birders "bird" together. It's social.
My second point is this: at first glance most of us just see dry desert and mountains. Unless we go outside and spend some time, we don't see just how much life that there is. And, there is something about discovering life that makes our place special, valuable, irreplaceable - a treasure to love and protect. Identifying different bird species helps us to see the bounty of our desert and mountains.
I remember the first time that I ever went birding. I was a Junior in High School. My friend, who came from a family of birders, took me to the levee in the Mission Valley - an ecosystem much like the Bosque. It isn't there any longer. We channelized the river and built an ugly wall. The first bird that I ever identified was an American Avocet.
Contact the El Paso/Trans Pecos Audubon Society or just email firstname.lastname@example.org. Get on their emailing list and learn about upcoming birding adventures. Attend their meetings - there's the social thing again. Also educational. Along with local outings, they go into New Mexico and Arizona and see some very pretty places and meet some pretty interesting birds. (Did I mention that another thing that makes birding fun is the travel - together?)
Part of learning about and loving our desert home is to meet life in all of its splendid forms and certainly birds are some of the most splendid species around.