House Finch, Pyrrhuloxia, and Northern Cardinal (left to right). Santa Cruz County, Arizona. Photo: Nate Chappell/Audubon Photography Awards

Birds

At the convergence of a dizzying array of habitat types, the American southwest is a region like no other. Between Arizona and New Mexico, the region boasts the continent’s four major deserts (the Chihuahuan, Sonoran, Mojave, and Great Basin), the southern extent of the Colorado Plateau and the Rocky Mountains, the northern tip of Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidentalis, the northern reaches of the Colorado River delta, other valuable western rivers like the Gila, Rio Grande, San Pedro, and others, the far eastern edge of the Great Plains, and a diversity in elevation that allows for everything from low, sandy desert to montane forests and subalpine tundra.

With this diversity in habitat comes a diversity of birds – nearly 600 species have been documented between the two states, roughly 200 of which are considered rarities or vagrants. However, it also comes with a diversity of threats. Climate change, aridification, wildfire, human development, introduced species, poor land and resource management, and more are all putting strain on southwestern habitats and the birds (and people) that call them home.

Check out the links below to learn more about the Southwest’s birds: specialty and priority species, tips and resources to help guide your birding adventures, and opportunities to get involved in region-wide conservation efforts.

A Curve-billed Thrasher, a brownish-gray bird with a long tail, long, curved bill, and orange eye perches against a tree trunk.

Curve-billed Thrasher. Photo: Greg Rogers/Audubon Photography Awards.

A packed dirt trail stretches evenly through a lush desert landscape on a clear, sunny day.

Photo: Corey Lycopolus/Audubon

A Lesser Goldfinch, a small, black and yellow bird, perches on a bare branch against a snowy backdrop.

Lesser Goldfinch Photo: Layne Naylor/Audubon Photography Awards.

An adult Sandhill Crane, a large, long-legged and long-necked bird with rusty gray plumage and a red cap, soars over shallow water.

Sandhill Crane. Photo: Ann Kramer/Audubon Photography Awards.

A Spotted Towhee, a Black, white, and rufous-orange bird with a sparrow-like shape, perches with tail fanned.

Spotted Towhee Photo: Evan Barrientos.

How to Help Birds

Community Science
Get Involved

Community Science

Engage in community science by joining a bird count, survey, or other opportunity.

Read more

Plants for Birds
Bird-Friendly Communities

Plants for Birds

Transform your landscape into valuable habitat for birds and other wildlife.

Read more

Audubon Chapters
Get Involved

Audubon Chapters

The Grassroots Strength of the Audubon Network

Read more

Audubon Southwest's Bird Conservation Efforts

Birds in the News

Historic $300 million appropriated for New Mexico water conservation, agriculture, and outdoor recreation
News

Historic $300 million appropriated for New Mexico water conservation, agriculture, and outdoor recreation

State legislative session results in Audubon-supported funding for Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund

Bird of the Month: Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus)
News

Bird of the Month: Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus)

Just in time for the changing season, you can listen for this bird of the month’s song! Rock Wrens are remarkable singers that can have a song repertoire of more than 100 song types, many of which appear to be learned from their neighbors.

Bird of the Month: Lucy’s Warbler (Oreothlypis luciae)
News

Bird of the Month: Lucy’s Warbler (Oreothlypis luciae)

Lucy’s Warblers are small, desert-dwelling warblers found in the Southwestern United States. These warblers have historically found their stronghold in dense, lowland riparian mesquite bosques, which can be some of the hottest places in the country.

New Mexico legislative session could bring millions to conservation efforts
News

New Mexico legislative session could bring millions to conservation efforts

The Land of Enchantment Legacy Fund would provide support toward the preservation of New Mexico land, water, and bird populations.

The Great Backyard Bird Count
News

The Great Backyard Bird Count

February 16-19, 2024

Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo Survey Training, June 20-21, 2024
Get Involved

Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo Survey Training, June 20-21, 2024

Registration is closed. Contact us to be added to the waitlist.

Audubon Southwest Year in Review
News

Audubon Southwest Year in Review

Your support helped us achieve great things in 2023

Which Winter Bird Are YOU?
News

Which Winter Bird Are YOU?

Learn more about the Christmas Bird Count!

No Snake Left in the Cold
News

No Snake Left in the Cold

Conservation Workdays Make Their Way to the Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch

How you can help, right now