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Articles Friends of the Bosque

Articles Of Interest
The Articles (we will keep adding more!) below have been published in our previous newsletters, and are under copyright by the various authors. They are provided to you for your personal use only, and are not to be distributed or copied without author permission.
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Author Abstract Article
 
He doesn't look like much, just a little olive grey- and yellow bird - of which there seem to be dozens of different kinds! But put the "binocs" on him, find out who he is and what he does, and just like so many critters (from two legged on down) he becomes very interesting indeed! The fact that this one eats mosquitoes and other insects makes him of especial interest during the summer months .. . Yea! A nonlethal mosquito-zapper!

And Who Is This?

Carol Cox

The blackness of the winter night is broken only by a few stars twinkling overhead and the muted brilliance of Venus shining through a thin veil of clouds in the east. At first it is almost imperceptible, as if you are imagining it, but gradually the dark sky begins to lighten ever so slightly behind the distant mountains....

"Fly Out"

Art Arenholz

The Red-tailed hawk is our most common Buteo or soaring hawk. The "light" Red-Tail is at the Refuge year round; it is the one we see most often. But in winter, we are visited almost every year by three other Red-tails: dark Red-tail, rufous Red-tail and Harlan's Red-tail....

Identifying Light and Dark Red-Tailed Hawks

Gary Montoya (Nov 2000)

The Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge cooperatively farms about 1,040 acres. The two farmers that do the farming are local and have many years of farming experience. The farmer gets 3/4 of the crop and the Refuge gets 1/4 of the crop. That is due to the fact that the farmer supplies the labor, his own machinery i.e. tractors, balers, rakes, etc., the seed, fertilizer, and herbicide. The Refuge provides the land, water, and....

Cooperative Farming on the Bosque del Apache NWR

 
With the burbling calls of the sandhill cranes fading into memory until another fall, and the last of the snow geese filling the skies above the marshes at Bosque in their circling and settling, circling and settling "practice sessions" before flying north, one's gaze falls upon the pond filled with cattail and bulrush....

The Marsh Hawks

Cary Morjan

The turtles at the Bosque del Apache NWR have recently become more visible, thanks to some new logs placed in the ponds and the new observation blind at the Ducks Unlimited pond. It's often amusing to find some of them hauled up on the logs to bask in the morning sunshine, with their legs stretched out "Superman style" to catch the sun's rays.

Turtles at the Bosque

Daniel Perry

Occasionally I get out of the office long enough to keep my birding skills sharp by helping with the bird census for the Refuge. You may have noticed our bird count board that is updated once a week during the winter with the number of sandhills and snow geese. The Refuge counts ducks, geese, shorebirds, and raptors year 'round on a weekly basis.....

Tale of the Longtailed Weasel (Mustela frenata)

 
Shorebirds are those funny little guys that poke into the mud of open mud flat areas with their long bills searching for yummy fly larvae. You know, the sandpipers and phalaropes and stilts and avocets and killdeer? They may stop to dine at Bosque if our mud flats are well populated with blood worms in the spring�roughly the third week of April to the first week of May. That is their migration time table through our area. Their autumnal return is early September. These birds are amazing in that....

Do We Manage Our Shorebirds?

John Taylor

Managing large migratory bird populations is one of the most challenging and gratifying experiences in the wildlife management field. As with other wildlife, habitat is the key to management. This association can be complex with many species, but is fairly straight forward with migratory and wintering water birds.

Managing Bird Populations for Disease Control

John Taylor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

Middle Rio Grande riparian areas historically comprised a mosaic of vegetative diversity which fostered patchy habitats with rich vertical structure (Van Cleave 1935). Although dramatically altered through human perturbation, vegetative communities remain remarkably diverse supporting the richest avian community of any major Southwestern river system (Hink and Ohmart 1984). A diverse forest structure can....

Maintain Riparian Vegetation Structure Diversity for Birds while Averting Catastrophic Wildfire

Art Arenholz

In winter, we expect to see birds like ducks, geese and cranes. We don't expect to see colorful songbirds, sprightly flycatchers or the other birds of summer. So let's look briefly at some winter surprise birds that are here most winters. Most insect-eating birds, like Kingbirds and Warblers, go south during fall. But, each winter, you can find....

Birds You Might Not Expect in Winter

Colin K. Lee, Biological Technician

In recent years, much emphasis has been placed on the management of ecosystems and the biological diversity that inhabits them. This is especially true on National Trust lands, such as Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge that is dedicated to protecting national game and non-game natural resources. Bosque del Apache (BDA) offers an opportunity to really understand the complex riparian ecosystems of the Rio Grande floodplain valley, where it still exists as a mosaic of microhabitats.Where the Rio historically meandered and flooded in and out of its presentday channel, it left behind....

Birds, Reptiles, and Amphibians: The Long-term Biomonitoring Study at Bosque del Apache

Gina Dello Russo

The goal of this project is to develop a comprehensive restoration plan for the Rio Grande reach from San Acacia to San Marcial. The plan will include a vision statement of the evolution of the river environment with implementation of the restoration plan. The plan is divided into ....

Conceptual Restoration Plan Active Floodplain of the Rio Grande San Acacia to San Marcial, NM

John Taylor

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me, 'How do you count all those birds?', I'd be a rich man. 'Is there anything to it, or is it just a wild guess?' Well, I can tell you it's not a wild guess. I made the mistake of asking just such a question 24 years ago to a crusty biologist in Southern Illinois. It was January, and I was fresh from southern New Mexico in the middle of a rough winter (at least I thought so). George was so annoyed (I've toned down his actual true feelings), he told me to get out of the truck and walk. It took 15 minutes of fast talking to....

Counting Etiquette

Clay T. Smith, Geologist

...sandhill cranes and snow geese who winter on the Refuge. Deer, coyotes, rabbits, squirrels of various types, owls, turkeys, eagles, and a wide variety of neo-tropical migrant birds also use the Bosque for their own purposes. The preferred area extends for only a mile or two east and west of the river channel in the present flood plain. Before irrigation controls and check dams were established, the river meandered from one side of the flood plain to the other as flows increased or decreased with the variation in rainfall and snowfall on the headwaters of the river. Such a pattern has existed for at least the last fifty to one hundred thousand years.....

A Geologic History of the Bosque del Apache NWR

Evelyn Horn (2002)

The 'green' reservoir stretches across my view from Crane Point... weeds have replaced the water and there's only a puddle left at the base of the dam. And what will it be like next spring when our Sandhill Cranes come from the San Luis Valley looking for a night's rest here at Hart's Basin? The fields below are dry, barren... no cattle. No corn, no oats or barley, so no silage and no waste grains for next spring's foraging birds. No income for the ranchers or farmers or orchardists. Drought is an ugly word.....

Hart's Basin Whoopers Are Gone

Art Arenholtz

You could go to Alaska and learn how to identify all of the five ages of the Bald Eagle, but why spend all that travel time and money? During mid-winter, peaking in January, Bosque del Apache NWR is temporary home to dozens of Bald Eagles, including all five ages. Peak count for the winter of 2000-2001: 92 Bald Eagles Let's start with the Bald Eagle that every birder in America can identify: the adult. This bird is described as 'all field mark': large size; bright white head, neck and tail; dark brown body and wings; and bright yellow bill. It takes four, five or six years to reach this plumage, and....

Identifying the Sub-Adult Bald Eagle

Art Arenholz

Many birds that migrate to our area in fall like us so well they stay for the whole winter. But quite a few birds spend only a few days here and then continue on South. Perhaps the most obvious of these shorttime visitors is the American White Pelican. This bird is huge and a wonderful - flier. All white except. for black flight feathers on the wings, Pelicans migrate in flocks and often fly in a line or circle in a thermal to gain altitude. A large orange-yellow bill helps distinguish....

Migrating Birds That Only Visit For a Little While

Mike Oldham, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bosque del Apache NWR

Everyone expects to see the large numbers of birds at the Bosque, but what about the mule deer on the refuge? It may seem hard to believe, but deer numbers in the early 1980's were estimated to have reached around 600 to 700 deer. The population estimate for the year 2000 is 34, 1999 was 63 and 1998 was 63. Apparently the refuge was very well known for its spectacular deer herd between 15 and 20 years ago. It seems apparent that deer populations early in the 1980's were at high enough numbers to cause damage to corn fields and compromise the health of the Bosque herds. Due to the high population numbers,....

Mule Deer Update on Bosque del Apache

Jim Savery, Manager of Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

...Wilderness areas are defined as '...areas where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain'. The Act in part, further describes these lands with phrases such as: preservation of their wilderness character, land retaining its primeval character and land preserved in its natural condition. The Act also states that there shall be no temporary road, no motorized vehicles, no landing of aircraft and no other form of mechanical transport including bicycles. It also has special provisions in relation to wildfires, mineral leases and claims, water resources and grazing. We now have over 104 million acres of Wilderness designated in the U.S. with about half of the acreage in Alaska....

National Wilderness Preservation System

Nancy Daniel

When visitors to the Refuge ask: 'what does Bosque del Apache' mean?' the answer: 'Woods of the Apache' often evokes a curious look. The reference to Apaches is clear, but the notion of woods or forest in this area of the high Chihuahuan Desert can be confusing. 'Bosque' refers specifically to trees growing within a riparian area. The Rio Grande and its subsequent impoundments and channels provide this riparian area. Here the predominant tree is the Rio Grande cottonwood (Populus fremontii).....

Rio Grande Cottonwood (Populus fremontii)

Jon Morrison

Cranes are members of a very old order of birds the Gruiformes which evolved during the Cranes are tall, leggy, long-necked birds that live along the marshy transitional zones where land meets water. Their heads are more delicate relative to their bodies. They are ground nesters whose young are quickly mobile. They are gregarious at most times, but nest in isolated pairs. Cranes are members of a very old order of birds. The Gruiformes, which evolved during the Eocene epoch (40 - 60 million years ago), diverging from the Columbiformes (pigeons, doves),...

Sandhill Cranes of Bosque del Apache

Art Arenholz

When you walk into the Refuge Visitor Center and look at the sign behind the front desk, you see the most recent counts for cranes, geese, and ducks. In winter, the count for ducks often exceeds 30,000. What are these ducks? We can group our ducks into two categories: ducks that dabble and ducks that dive. Most of our winter ducks 'dabble', i.e. they feed in shallow water, often tipping the tail straight up in the air, stretching the head and neck to reach food on the bottom, and paddling their feet to stay under water. Dabbling ducks sit high on the water and can spring directly into the air to fly. Diving ducks rarely dabble,....

Winter Ducks of Bosque del Apache

 

 

 

 




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