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Field Guide Series – Common Desert Birds

by | Apr 16, 2023

Gain fundamental, practical knowledge of your surroundings  

“Small but Mighty” may be the best way to describe our new Easy Field Guides, reviewed by our own Yvonne Prater, Director of Operations. Each book is fully illustrated, and filled with a plethora of interesting facts that are easy to understand to help answer the thoughtful question, “What is that?”

If you missed them, you can read Yvonne’s first five Field Guide reviews here. This is the sixth guide in the series and is titled “Common Desert Birds”.

Be an Early Bird

The southwestern deserts have a wide variety of habitats which are occupied by many different species of birds, some of which are found nowhere else in the United States. These desert birds have adapted to life in hot, arid environments.

In this guide, you will find most of the more common species, their descriptions, and their scientific names. These birds are the ones you are likely to encounter in a desert city or in open desert areas. Desert birds are usually best observed early in the morning. Once the heat of the day sets in, they are less active.

The Roadrunner

road runnerOne of my favorite birds, and the one that desert visitors are most eager to see, is the Roadrunner. You’ll need a keen eye, however, because this bird has been clocked at running 26 mph, making it the fastest bird on land capable of flight, if necessary. You are most likely to see this bird as it crosses the road in front of your vehicle.

The Roadrunner is revered for its courage, strength, speed, and endurance. Its distinctive X-shaped footprint—with two toes pointing forward and two backward—are used as sacred symbols by Pueblo tribes to ward off evil.

Insects are the Roadrunner’s principle diet, but periodically it enjoys a good snake or lizard. The Roadrunner is a member of the cuckoo family and is New Mexico’s state bird.

Visit Riverbanks Gift Shop

There is great pleasure to be had from gaining fundamental, practical knowledge of your surroundings. I hope you enjoy and anticipate each month the selected topics in this series. These guides are published by American Traveler Press and can be found in the River of Time gift shop, Riverbanks. We are open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through May 31, and Wednesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from June 01.