Fall Bird Walk at Riverside Nature Center

10/29/2021

The Riverside Nature Center fosters an avid local birder community. Nestled along the trails and banks of the Animas River, the facility also offers several different guided attractions throughout the year—for all ages. By Donna K. Hewett. Sponsored by SunRay Park and Casino and Traegers Bar

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The fall bird walk at the Riverside Nature Center in Farmington offers a stunning tour of all the local flora and fauna that live along the trails and banks of the peaceable Animas river. You're watching the "Local NEWS Network" brought to you by Sunray Park & Casino and Traegers. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. Part of the Farmington Museum, Riverside Nature Center is an out of sight jewel located in the Animas Park off Browning Parkway. Among the 135 bird species that live near the center, it's hard to know exactly who will show up on any given day.

We're right between our fall birds and our winter birds. We have some of our winter birds like juncos and white crown sparrows, which spend their summer up at higher altitudes, are coming down now and we might see those.

Eagles are another species that winters along the Animas.

The little streams and ponds further north or higher altitudes start freezing, then the bald eagles move down here to fish along this river. And we have seen one this fall. A little early. Usually it's mid November before we see bald eagles.

The eagle Thatcher spotted last week arrived early. She said it could be anywhere from Aztec to Shiprock, thus, the chances of seeing it were not great, which was okay because the bird watch easily morphed into a spontaneous nature walk with remarkable sites of wildlife.

We have more deer. They're crossing, look at them. They know just where to wade to get across. How fun. We don't often get to see them out in the river.

If you're interested in becoming a birder but don't know where to begin, Thatcher advises starting with what's in your backyard.

I think most people just start by learning. You learn a few birds that you get to see all the time near your house or wherever you go, and then you just keep adding on to that. Once you learn how to tell what a sparrow is, there are probably 50 kind of sparrows, but you learn the first two common kinds of sparrows. And then all the others you learn because they compare to your familiar sparrows. And you gradually you learn more of them that way.

Riverside Nature Center offers guided activities and educational programs throughout the year for all ages, including an upcoming moonlit nature walk and Christmas bird count event. Hours vary by season and event. Appointments for group tours are available. For more information, go to fmtn.org/riversidenaturecenter. Thanks for watching this edition of the "Local NEWS Network". I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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