Coyotes & Food

A coyote trots off with a duck for dinner at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by Mouser Williams)

By Mariana Rivera Freeman, Field Science Specialist

Coyotes can be controversial. To different people and cultures, the coyote carries diverse significance. But outside of the meaning we give these animals, they have a natural purpose of their own. While they go about that purpose, they occasionally come into contact with us, whether in the wilderness, where coyotes prefer to spend their time, or in human spaces.

Read more Coyotes & Food

Virtual Field Trip: Geology

Geologist Fraser Goff points out a lava flow he’s about to investigate. (Photo by Siobhan Niklasson)

One of the perks of being a field geologist is that they often get to spend time outside! Follow along with a geologist as he spends a day mapping rocks in the Jemez Mountains, and then try your own hand at observing rocks and mapping soils.

Click the links below to take a virtual geology field trip!

Read more Virtual Field Trip: Geology

The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn

Maybe you’ve read in the news that Jupiter and Saturn will appear like one giant star, the closest they’ve been in hundreds of years, on December 21, 2020. We’ve prepared a slideshow about the conjunction to explain this cool event!

  • The first 7 slides are a basic introduction, including an outdoor, hands-on portion that all ages can do.
  • Slides marked with a blue star go into a little more depth about angular measurements.
  • Slides marked with a purple star are a fun, hands-on activity about the solar system that only requires a piece of paper and a pencil.

Virtual Field Trip: Spectacularly Spooky Animal Senses

This jumping spider has excellent vision and uses its eyes to hunt prey. (Photo by Beth Cortright)

Find out all about animal senses, and use your senses to explore your world, in this virtual field trip for young children. If you’re a teacher, please contact us at educator@peecnature.org to let us know if you’re using this content in your classroom. Enhanced content may be available for teachers.

Click the links below for a spectacularly spooky animal senses adventure!

1) Watch this video:

Find out how skulls can give us clues to how animals use their senses in this video featuring PEEC Field Science Specialist Mariana Rivera Freeman.

Texto del video en español.

2) Outdoor activity: Animal Senses Scavenger Hunt (Versión en español)

3) Meet PEEC’s Spectacularly Spooky Critters: Meet some of the critters that call the Los Alamos Nature Center home! Watch the recording of our tour here.

Share your experience with us! Email us at educator@peecnature.org to share your pictures and stories. You can rate our field trip using our evaluation form.

Birds in Your Community Scavenger Hunt

Birds at a feeder at the Los Alamos Nature Center. (Photo by Bob Walker)

Go outside and get to know the birds in your neighborhood! Can you find:

A Steller’s Jay eats a peanut. (Photo by Bob Walker)

Birds eating, drinking, and taking shelter

  • A bird eating seeds
  • A bird eating insects or worms
  • A bird drinking water
  • A bird hiding in a tree or a bush

A habitat has food, water, shelter, and space for animals. You can help create bird habitat near your house by providing a dish of water, or planting flowers with seeds that birds can eat.

Birds interacting with people

  • A bird near your house
  • A bird using man-made features (eating from a garden, resting on a telephone wire, drinking from a bird bath, etc.)
  • A bird helping you (pollinating flowers, eating insect pests, etc.)
  • A cultural representation of a bird (painting, sign, petroglyph, constellation, etc.)
Brown-headed Cowbirds enjoy water from the White Rock Wastewater Treatment Plant. (Photo by Bob Walker)

Birds can be helped and harmed by human behavior. Cats and window strikes kill lots of birds every year. You can help by keeping your cats inside, and by placing stickers or hanging strings on the outside of your windows to block reflections.

Birds of the Season

Watch for these birds running or hopping along the ground, looking for insects and worms. (Photo by Bob Walker)

These tiny, quick birds can be seen hovering near flowers or feeders. (Photo by Deborah Halter)

These thick-beaked birds tend to be seen in flocks. They often visit seed feeders. (Photo by Bob Walker)

Look for a flash of yellow hopping from branch to branch, as this bird looks for insects. (Photo by Bob Walker)

Some birds live in your neighborhood year-round, and others migrate, or move from place to place with the seasons. As the season advances, keep looking for these birds. Which birds seem to stick around, and which ones do you see more or less as the seasons change? Some of our birds spend their winters in Mexico or Central America and return to breed in summer, some winter here and fly north to breed, and some use our area as a rest stop during the migration season on their way further north or south!

Tell us what birds you saw in your neighborhood by sending us an email to takeitoutside@peecnature.org! Ready for more? Try looking for the 20 most common birds of Los Alamos! If you see a bird outside, PEEC’s bird guide can help you identify it.