This is the third month of the worldwide Year of the Bird, and the staff at Bandelier chose white-throated swifts as the bird of the month.
So far the swifts haven’t returned to Frijoles Canyon, but they could show up any day! One day the sky is quiet, and the next day there are suddenly small birds whizzing around, looking for insects. Besides the swifts, there will soon be violet-green swallows also animating the canyon skies.
The theme for March is pollinator and native plants. The park is hosting a day for volunteers to do a clean-up as well as planting in the native plant garden behind the Visitor Center at 10 a.m. March 16. Everyone wanting to participate should call the Visitor Center at 505.672.3861 x 517 to sign up, and be sure to bring water and wear a hat and sunscreen.
In addition, the bookstore at the Visitor Center is planning to sell packets of seeds for local plants. This is part of an effort nationwide to encourage people to plant native plants, which provide essential habitat for wildlife. They are especially important to pollinators like bees, butterflies, and many kinds of birds.
Wildlife Biologist Chuck Hathcock of the Los Alamos National Laboratory will be giving a talk at the theater in the Bandelier National Monument Visitor Center at 1 p.m.Thursday, March 22. He will alert listeners to hazards around the house that can endanger birds, including fence posts and uncovered pipes and chimneys.
Not in March, but part of the focus on the importance of pollinators, will be “Pollinator Night” at the Pajarito Environmental Education Center May 1. Starting at 7 p.m., there will be a talk by bee expert Olivia Carril and one by butterfly enthusiast Roy Michelotti. Closer to the date details will be provided on these talks, as well as about a possible talk by . Michelotti to be presented in Bandelier in March.