by Alex Harper
Still a force, the Colorado River once was mightier. It meandered out of its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains, across the plateaus of Utah and northern Arizona before turning southward by the time it reaches southern Nevada. From there, the river towed the current border between Arizona and California, flowed into Mexico, and emptied into the Sea of Cortez. All along the river and at its terminus in Mexico, dense cottonwoods and willows accompanied its riverbanks and flood plains, providing habitat and refuge for the rich biodiversity of the American deserts. Even Jaguars once wandered the banks of the Colorado in Mexico and the southern extents of adjacent border states.
by Morrigan DeVito
What can birds teach us about drought? Birds connect us to water in our community, and that connection is vital as we live through the 23rd year of drought in Las Vegas. At every March birding event, Red Rock Audubon will share water conservation facts, tips, and resources from the Southern Nevada Water Authority with the public.
by Morrigan DeVito
I am worrying about the drought again as I stand on the Weir Bridge at Wetlands Park. Below me, a great blue heron bobs on the current, feathers blue-gray like the cloudless, smoggy sky. Ring-necked ducks and American coots swim around him, diving underwater for plants to eat. He floats along, wings folded neatly and long legs tucked beneath his lanky body. When the current moves him to the center, he rises with a great shake of his feathers, startling the coot who swam too close to him. The great blue heron looks around, retracts his neck, and flies to the riverbank to take his place among cattails and reeds for the afternoon. Unworried, he preens himself and spreads his massive wings to sun his cape-like feathers. I point him out to people walking by and many gape, we have those here?
by Morrigan DeVito
What backyard is complete without a hummingbird or two? In Las Vegas, Anna’s hummingbirds are common visitors to gardens and feeders. They spend their lives chasing water, zipping from flower to flower as they drink sweet nectar and snatch tiny insects. In the sunlight, males have dazzling reddish-pink feathers that rest like little petals around their head and throat. They’re delightful to watch as they dart, dive, and dance through the air.
By Morrigan DeVito
Spring is here! What better way to celebrate than to garden in the fresh air? And if you plant native Mojave plants, birds are sure to come visit you. Here are five native, drought tolerant plants to conserve water and attract desert birds:
by Morrigan DeVito
While many of us stayed in the AC to escape the 2021 heat wave, burrowing owls had no such luxury. Out at the Rainbow Owl Preserve, burrowing owl parents hunted for beetles, scorpions, lizards, and mice in the sweltering heat to feed their families. But the prey they need is getting harder to find because of lack of water. The less food parents bring back to the nest, the harder it is for baby owls to survive.
Photos by David Anderson
On January 23, 2022, over 20 people attended Red Rock Audubon’s inaugural birding event at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Boulder City. Veteran’s Memorial is a very accessible urban park that contains a variety of habitats. Highlights of the morning included sightings of Eurasian Collared-Doves, Snow Geese, Ring-necked Ducks and Double-crested Cormorants catching fish. We'll continue to explore this urban park monthly throughout the birding seasons.
Doug, Jim and Nate at Ash Meadows
Red Rock Audubon Christmas Bird Count is BACK SAFELY!!! Volunteer compliers (fancy name for organizing leaders) have redesigned our six count circles (Ash Meadows, Corn Creek, Pahranagat, Henderson, Muddy Rivers and Red Rock Conservation Area) to be COVID appropriate while maximizing volunteer’s birding fun and following the CBC science protocols.
Jim Switalla, Nate Hutt and Doug Chang are continuing a Red Rock Audubon tradition of sweeping the counts (doing all six counts). So far – after 4 counts, the birds have shown up, the weather has been outstanding! Participation of first time and returning CBCers has been outstanding too. Joining in any CBC requires a very early start to the day. However, the cookies made it all worthwhile. Thank you Ash Meadows for the refreshments (hint, hint…other compilers!). Hope our weather luck continues and others will join us and continue this tradition next year.
OUR EXCURSION TO HENDERSON BIRD VIEWING PRESERVE FOR THE ANNUAL AUDUBON CHRISTMAS BIRD COUNT by Nancy J Olds
You never know what you’ll see when you visit Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve (HBVP) on each visit, but the park certainly doesn’t disappoint! It was exciting to be one of eight volunteers, Linda & Bob, Eva, Nancy and Anna, led by experienced birders Doug and Jim.
The night’s chill was still in the air on Wednesday, December 22 when our group met in the conference room at the HBVP’s entrance building at 7 am. Surrounded by a prolific collection of stuffed animals and exhibits, we made our introductions and Doug led the briefing. Most of us brought binoculars. Fortunately, Jim and Doug brought their spotting scopes mounted on tripods, which were particularly helpful as we tried to identify our birds who were quite hidden in the trees and brush. I brought along one of my Nikon digital single-lens reflex cameras with an especially long telephoto 150-600 mm lens, but the spotting scopes do a spectacular job getting up extremely close to wildlife!
by Paul Rodriguez
I recently had the opportunity to meet a young a birder at one of our Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve events. When we had a chance to talk he informed me that he was an artist and especially likes to create digital bird art.