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The New Mexico Breeding Bird Atlas Project

Atlas Handbook

Field Safety

Remember, the backcountry in New Mexico can be a dangerous and unpredictable place. Do not go into the field alone unless you have told someone where you are going and when you will be back. Other suggested precautions are:

  1. Take a companion when surveying at night. Watch where you are walking. Remember when conducting nocturnal surveys, rattlesnakes are much more prevalent at night in hot weather, especially in the desert. If you would like help with nocturnal surveys, your regional organizer may be able to suggest other birders in the area.

  2. Insects are not often a problem in New Mexico most of the year, but after the summer rains have started, plant growth and rain pools can create good habitat for mosquitoes, black flies, and chiggers in some places. Also beware of swarms or hives of honeybees.

  3. Prepare for changes in weather. Sudden heavy rains can leave roads muddy and impassible, and cause flash-flooding. This is especially important in steep canyon country.

  4. Don't go alone into wilderness areas, roadless places, or dangerous terrain.

  5. Be prepared for rapid changes in weather and vehicle breakdowns! Always carry plenty of water, food, a first aid kit, and camping gear in the event that you will need to spend the day or night near your vehicle.

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