It wasn’t quite beach weather last week, but it was too warm for New Mexico in February. I watched with alarm as the piles of snow from the prior week’s snowstorm evaporated within days. The recent drought summary from NOAA indicated that conditions have slowly been improving. We’ll see if that trend continues. After all, Punxsatawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter on Groundhog Day.
New Mexico has gotten a lot of press for its coyote-killing contests over the last few years so I was pleased to see a new billboard on Interstate 25 between Santa Fe and Albuquerque (visible from the southbound lanes near Algodones) that says, “End wildlife hunting contests.” This week the state took a step toward that goal when a bi-partisan bill (SB 253) cleared the Senate Conservation Committee by a vote of 6 to 3. The Albuquerque Journal voiced their support of the bill in this editorial.
Next weekend is the Great Backyard Bird Count, a citizen science project that helps identify and track bird populations around the world. Last year observers in 135 countries identified nearly 4300 different species. The count takes place February 13th -16th and is open to birders of all ages and levels of experience. I attended a presentation on Saturday by the Santa Fe chapter of Audubon New Mexico to brush up on identification of our local birds and to learn more about the count. It sounds easy enough, fifteen minutes (minimum) observing and counting and then, submitting results at birdcount.org. More detailed instructions are provided here.
Have a good week and take some time to go outside!