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Rehab for raptors - Bird-spotting Sundays at refuge

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By The Staff

With winter on the horizon migrating birds are traveling south to warmer temperatures. On Sundays, the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge will have various programs allowing the public the opportunity to spot the migrating birds within the refuge’s 8,672 acres.

Interpretive programs take place each Sunday with one at noon and another at 1:30 p.m. at the refuge visitor center.

Along with the programs, there is a Special Wildlife Kids Crafts with various themed crafts between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., also at the refuge visitor center.

This Sunday, Kent Reid from the New Mexico Forest and Watershed Restoration Institute will provide a talk about the role of wildfires in southwestern landscapes. On Nov. 17, Brian Miller from the Denver Zoo will present a program on Bison Ecology and Management at the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge. On Nov. 24, the program will be on Drought and Ecology of Southwestern Shortgrass Prairies by Mollie Walton of Quivera Coalition.

Jan Arrott of the Friends of the Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge said there will be fun and activities for all ages. All programs are free and open to the public. The refuge is located east of Las Vegas.

This past Sunday live birds from the Santa Fe Raptor Center were the highlight of the afternoon programs.

Additionally, to the programs and activities at the center, attendees may participate in an self-guided auto drive featuring 4-½ miles of land where they may see migratory waterfowl, eagles, hawks, and grassland birds including mountain bluebirds, horned larks, sparrows and meadowlarks.

The September rains, have added some much- needed water to the ponds and McAlister Lake.  Volunteer naturalists will be on-site with spotting scopes to help identify birds.

For more information, contact Arrott at 454-6115. In case of inclement weather, it could be necessary for some events to be canceled or postponed.