Bird Guide

Initially this guide displays common birds of all types that are flying right now in our area. Use the selectors below to view rare birds, view birds flying any time, restrict the output to a certain shape of bird, or search by name.

New Mexico is on the western edge of the Central Flyway which is one of the major migration pathways between north and south for birds traveling between breeding and wintering grounds along the Rocky Mountains. This has resulted in the state having an incredible diversity of birds with over 550 different species reported. A little more than half of this number are sighted annually on the Pajarito Plateau. Some of these birds are full-time residents, some migrate here for a few weeks or months, and other are only seen briefly as they pass through the region.

This guide features many of the birds known to frequent Los Alamos county by when they are likely to be seen in the area. You can get additional information on local birds by joining PEEC Birders or going to the eBird website. eBird also includes lists of rare bird sightings and birding hot spots.

Bird References

Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Institute for Bird Populations
National Audubon Society
New Mexico Ornithology Society
What Bird

Subject Area Experts (all guides)

Steve Cary (butterflies)
Beth Cortright (insects)
Terry Foxx (invasive plants)
Leslie Hansen (mammals)
Richard Hansen (fish, mammals)
Dorothy Hoard (butterflies, trees)
Chick Keller (flowers, herbarium)
Shari Kelley (geology)
Kirt Kempter (geology)
Garth Tietjen (reptiles)
David Yeamans (birds)

Web Development and Content Management

Pat Bacha
Jennifer Macke
Graham Mark
Akkana Peck


Please contact us for local nature questions and sightings. We welcome comments, corrections, and additions to our guides.

For more information about local nature, please visit our Nature Blog or subscribe to PEEC This Week.

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Showing 1 of 176 birds.

Photo: adult by Hari Viswanathan

adult with nesting material

Photo: adult with nesting material by Mouser Williams

Mountain Chickadee

MOCH (Poecile gambeli, Parus gambeli)

Family: Paridae (Chickadees and Titmice)
Size: 5 - 5.8 in (13 - 15 cm)
Flies: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Morphology: black cap and bib with white cheeks and grey sides; only chickadee with a white eye stripe

Status: native; common
Food source: mostly insects such as caterpillars and beetles but also seeds and berries

Habitat: mountain forests, conifer forests

Chickadees are small birds with large heads that often hang upside down to pluck small insects from conifer needles. These birds are fearless, inquisitive, and constantly foraging. They are attracted by oil sunflower seeds, suet, peanuts and peanut butter to feeders. They live at high altitudes in the summer but descend to lowlands in the winter. Females lay 7 to 9 white or lightly spotted eggs in a hair- or fur-lined natural cavity or woodpecker hole. Eggs hatch in about 14 days. Young fledge around 3 weeks of age.

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