Bird populations of a desert scrub area in southern New Mexico

TitleBird populations of a desert scrub area in southern New Mexico
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication1965
AuthorsMaze RL
Date Published1965
UniversityNew Mexico State University
CityLas Cruces, New Mexico
Thesis TypeM.S. Thesis
Call Number00211
Keywordsbird population,scrub area, bird, habitat preference, bird, population densities, bird, species composition, desert scrub area, dissertation, dissertations, technique, bird censusing, theses, thesis
AbstractComposition, habitat preference, and population densities of the avifauna in a desert scrub area in southern New Mexico were studied. Censusing was done by cruising and mapping on a grid covering one square mile. Nine different species nested on the area during the study. Composition of the avifauna appears to be mainly dependent on the diversity of vegetation. Absence of trees and lack of dense vegetation have influenced the composition such that other species which nest in southern New Mexico do not nest on the uplands. Black-throated Sparrows maintained the highest densities, followed by Mourning Doves, Verdins, and Black-tailed Gnatcatchers. Major factors influencing densities appear to be availability of plants suitable for nesting, primary productivity of the general area, and size and efficiency of territories. Most birds nested in the more mesic arroyos. Sparse vegetation on upland areas apparently discouraged utilization by species other than Mourning Doves. Distribution of species appears responsive to distribution of nest-site plants and to abundance and profile of vegetation in the vicinity of nest sites. In species composition the avifauna is similar to those of other areas, arid and non-arid. Differences are correlated with vegetation differences. Desert regions support lower densities than more mesic environments.