USGS - science for a changing world

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

  Home About NPWRC Our Science Staff Employment Contacts Common Questions About the Site

Back to NMBBA Home

The New Mexico Breeding Bird Atlas Project

Atlas Handbook


Safe Dates

Safe dates are used to place a species in the possible breeding category—the lowest breeding category—based only on a visual observation of the species between specific dates. Outside of the safe dates (or any time of the year if no safe dates are given) it is unsafe to presume from a visual observation that an observed species is breeding. Use of safe dates, however, increases the number of species that can be easily added to the "possible" category. Based on the comments from managers of other breeding bird atlases, completely omitting the use of safe dates has the potential of increasing the amount of field time required to otherwise record the same number of possible breeding species.

Below is a list of safe dates to be used in the New Mexico Breeding Bird Atlas Project. This list was compiled based on summary data from New Mexico Department of Game and Fish's breeding bird observation cards and by comparison with the safe dates used by the Colorado and Oklahoma Breeding Bird Atlases. Given that the New Mexico breeding card records are clearly incomplete, judging the dates requires some knowledge of the migratory nature of each species and has a speculative nature. In most cases, the safe dates given below are conservative. Safe dates are omitted for species poorly documented by breeding bird cards and for many species that are year-round resident in the state. Some safe dates may be modified in future years as new information becomes available from the atlas fieldwork.

Species Name NM Proposed Safe Dates NM Earliest NM Latest
Pied-billed Grebe May 1 - July 31 5/15 9/2
Eared Grebe June 1 - July 31 6/5 9/21
Western Grebe June 1 - July 31 5/16 11/7
Clark's Grebe none 4/13 9/28
American Bittern none 5/23 7/15
Least Bittern none 6/18 7/17
Great Blue Heron none 2/25 7/22
Great Egret none 5/11 7/19
Snowy Egret none 4/27 7/9
Little Blue Heron none 6/2 7/27
Cattle Egret none 4/28 7/19
Green Heron none 6/12 7/6
Black-crowned Night-Heron May 1 - June 30 4/27 7/9
White-faced Ibis none - -
Turkey Vulture none 5/14 8/13
Canada Goose May 1 - June 1 4/22 6/10
Wood Duck none 5/15 7/11
Gadwall none 6/1 9/1
Mallard May 1 - July 31 4/21 8/12
Mexican Duck none 5/1 7/20
Blue-winged Teal none 5/8 7/27
Cinnamon Teal none 5/11 8/3
Northern Pintail none - -
Green-winged Teal none 5/26 7/26
Canvasback none - -
Redhead none 6/25 8/3
Common Merganser none 5/26 7/28
Ruddy Duck none 6/10 9/21
Osprey none 4/30 8/2
Mississippi Kite none 6/8 8/13
Northern Harrier none 5/18 6/28
Sharp-shinned Hawk none 6/30 7/31
Cooper's Hawk May 1 - June 30 3/20 7/19
Northern Goshawk May 15 - July 15 5/12 7/30
Common Blackhawk none 3/23 7/16
Harris' Hawk none 3/12 6/19
Swainson's Hawk June 1 - June 30 4/16 8/11
Zone-tailed Hawk May 15 - June 30 4/10 8/16
Red-tailed Hawk none 3/23 7/11
Ferruginous Hawk May 1 - June 15 3/5 7/25
Golden Eagle May 1 - June 30 5/13 7/4
American Kestrel May 15 - July 15 5/1 7/31
Prairie Falcon May 1 - June 15 4/16 7/22
Chukar none 7/30 -
Ring-necked Pheasant May 15 - July 15 5/4 7/16
Blue Grouse none 6/1 8/6
Wild Turkey none 5/31 8/23
Montezuma Quail none 7/10 9/11
Northern Bobwhite none 6/7 7/12
Scaled Quail May 15 - July 31 5/4 9/15
Gambel's Quail May 15 - July 31 5/24 8/29
Virginia Rail none 5/26 8/27
Sora none 5/19 7/24
Common Moorhen none 4/13 8/5
American Coot May 1 - July 31 4/16 9/21
Snowy Plover none 5/25 7/29
Killdeer May 1 - July 15 4/21 7/20
Mountain Plover none 4/9 7/29
Black-necked Stilt none 5/25 8/27
American Avocet none 5/20 8/17
Spotted Sandpiper none 6/22 8/22
Long-billed Curlew none 5/27 6/28
Rock Dove March 1 - July 31 1/26 7/27
Band-tailed Pigeon none 2/24 9/12
White-winged Dove none 2/21 12/29
Mourning Dove May 15 - July 31 5/7 9/2
Inca Dove none 3/24 9/24
Yellow-billed Cuckoo none 6/29 7/30
Greater Roadrunner May 1 - June 30 4/14 8/27
Barn Owl May 1 - June 30 3/15 7/17
Flammulated Owl none 6/5 7/20
Western Screech Owl none 5/18 7/18
Great Horned Owl March 1 - July 15 1/16 7/5
Northern Pygmy-Owl none 5/10 6/25
Elf Owl none 5/27 6/29
Burrowing Owl June 1 - July 15 6/2 7/27
Spotted Owl none 6/13 7/6
Long-eared Owl May 1 - June 30 5/2 7/23
Northern Saw-whet Owl none - -
Lesser Nighthawk none 7/18 7/21
Common Nighthawk none 5/31 8/25
Common Poorwill none 5/16 7/21
Whip-poor-will none 6/24 -
Black Swift none 7/12 8/21
White-throated Swift May 15 - July 15 4/17 7/26
Magnificent Hummingbird none 6/13 -
Black-chinned Hummingbird June 1 - June 30 4/26 8/19
Broad-tailed Hummingbird June 1 - June 30 5/1 8/20
Elegant Trogon none 7/7 -
Belted Kingfisher none 5/8 6/28
Lewis's Woodpecker June 1 - June 30 4/16 8/13
Red-headed Woodpecker none 5/16 9/12
Acorn Woodpecker May 15 - July 15 5/14 7/25
Red-naped Sapsucker May 15 - July 15 5/10 8/25
Williamson's Sapsucker May 15 - July 15 5/15 7/25
Ladder-backed Woodpecker May 1 - June 30 4/17 7/11
Downy Woodpecker none 4/25 7/4
Hairy Woodpecker May 15 - July 15 5/3 9/2
Three-toed Woodpecker none 6/20 8/11
Northern Flicker May 1 - July 15 4/30 8/2
Greater Pewee none 6/25 7/14
Western Wood-Pewee June 1 - June 30 5/16 8/7
Willow Flycatcher none 6/22 7/6
Hammond's Flycatcher none 6/1 6/26
Dusky Flycatcher none 6/23 7/22
Gray Flycatcher none 4/26 8/20
Cordilleran Flycatcher June 15 - July 15 5/28 8/21
Buff-breasted Flycatcher none 7/24 -
Black Phoebe May 1 - June 30 4/1 7/25
Eastern Phoebe none 6/4 7/3
Say's Phoebe May 1 - June 30 3/25 8/7
Vermillion Flycatcher May 15 - June 15 4/5 7/23
Dusky-capped Flycatcher none 6/2 6/18
Ash-throated Flycatcher May 15 - July 15 5/3 7/20
Brown-crested Flycatcher none 5/22 7/24
Cassin's Kingbird May 15 - July 15 5/12 8/7
Western Kingbird May 15 - July 15 5/4 8/10
Eastern Kingbird none 6/1 8/18
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher none 4/29 7/18
Loggerhead Shrike none 2/27 7/18
Plumbeous Vireo June 1 - June 30 5/18 7/28
Hutton's Vireo none 6/26 7/13
Warbling Vireo June 1 - June 30 5/25 8/4
Gray Jay none 6/9 -
Steller's Jay May 15 - July 15 5/1 8/20
Blue Jay none 6/2 8/31
Western Scrub-Jay May 15 - June 15 4/20 7/28
Mexican Jay none 4/24 6/10
Pinyon Jay none 3/2 8/19
Clark's Nutcracker none 4/14 6/12
Black-billed Magpie May 1 - June 15 3/29 7/5
American Crow none 4/14 7/9
Chihuahuan Raven May 15 - June 30 3/30 7/12
Common Raven May 15 - June 30 3/15 7/12
Horned Lark May 1 - June 15 4/8 7/5
Purple Martin May 15 - June 15 5/14 7/21
Tree Swallow none 5/14 7/27
Violet-green Swallow June 1 - June 30 5/19 7/22
Northern Rough-winged Swallow none 5/6 6/28
Bank Swallow none 5/30 7/10
Barn Swallow May 15 - July 15 5/10 8/29
Cliff Swallow none 4/18 8/6
Cave Swallow none 6/20 7/7
Black-capped Chickadee none 5/26 7/15
Mountain Chickadee June 1 - July 15 5/25 7/29
Bridled Titmouse none 4/23 6/1
Juniper Titmouse May 15 - June 15 4/29 7/4
Verdin June 1 - June 30 5/19 8/3
Bushtit none 4/2 7/19
Red-breasted Nuthatch none 4/2 6/23
White-breasted Nuthatch May 15 - June 15 5/1 7/13
Pygmy Nuthatch May 15 - June 15 5/19 8/10
Brown Creeper none 4/14 7/15
Cactus Wren May 1 - June 30 4/1 7/23
Rock Wren May 15 - June 30 4/20 7/28
Canyon Wren June 1 - June 30 5/18 7/29
Carolina Wren none 9/1 -
Bewick's Wren May 15 - July 15 5/5 8/9
House Wren June 1 - July 15 6/2 7/21
Marsh Wren none 6/6 6/25
American Dipper May 1 - July 15 4/9 7/26
Golden-crowned Kinglet none 6/20 7/6
Ruby-crowned Kinglet none 6/20 7/30
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher May 15 - June 30 5/10 7/23
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher none 5/26 8/21
Eastern Bluebird none 4/10 5/25
Western Bluebird May 15 - July 15 5/1 8/7
Mountain Bluebird May 1 - June 15 4/30 8/7
Townsend's Solitaire none 5/24 7/30
Swainson's Thrush none 7/4 7/15
Hermit Thrush June 1 - July 15 6/20 7/19
American Robin May 15 - July 15 4/30 7/27
Catbird none 5/31 8/10
Northern Mockingbird May 15 - July 15 4/6 8/15
Sage Thrasher none 5/26 7/14
Brown Thrasher none 6/8 7/8
Bendire's Thrasher none 5/1 7/16
Curve-billed Thrasher May 1 - June 30 2/18 8/31
Crissal Thrasher none 3/6 7/21
European Starling May 1 - June 15 2/22 10/18
American Pipit none 6/18 7/27
Cedar Waxwing none 7/1 -
Phainopepla none 3/23 8/3
Olive Warbler none 5/11 7/29
Orange-crowned Warbler none 6/18 7/29
Virginia's Warbler June 1 - June 30 6/3 7/13
Lucy's Warbler none 4/19 7/18
Northern Parula none 5/31 -
Yellow Warbler June 1 - June 30 5/5 8/5
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's) none 5/28 7/24
Black-throated Gray Warbler none 5/29 7/4
Grace's Warbler none 5/25 7/21
MacGillivray's Warbler none 6/7 7/1
Common Yellowthroat none 6/6 8/3
Wilson's Warbler none 6/5 7/23
Red-faced Warbler none 5/1 7/18
Painted Redstart none 4/25 9/14
Yellow-breasted Chat June 1 - July 15 5/10 8/21
Hepatic Tanager none 5/8 7/27
Summer Tanager none 5/17 9/6
Western Tanager June 1 - July 15 5/25 8/9
Green-tailed Towhee June 15 - July 15 6/7 8/10
Spotted Towhee June 1 - July 15 5/2 8/4
Canyon Towhee June 1 - June 30 4/17 9/18
Cassin's Sparrow none 6/3 9/8
Rufous-crowned Sparrow none 5/20 9/6
Chipping Sparrow June 1 - June 30 5/9 7/20
Brewer's Sparrow none 6/9 7/2
Black-chinned Sparrow none 5/19 7/15
Vesper Sparrow none 5/29 6/16
Lark Sparrow May 15 - June 30 5/11 7/16
Black-throated Sparrow May 1 - July 15 4/24 8/24
Sage Sparrow none 6/4 6/21
Lark Bunting none 6/2 8/7
Savannah Sparrow none 5/27 6/27
Grasshopper Sparrow none 6/9 8/2
Song Sparrow none 6/3 7/20
Lincoln's Sparrow none 6/14 7/12
White-crowned Sparrow none 7/7 7/26
Dark-eyed Junco (Gray-headed) May 15 - July 15 5/12 7/31
Northern Cardinal none 5/25 8/24
Pyrrhuloxia none 5/7 8/15
Black-headed Grosbeak June 1 - July 15 5/9 8/28
Blue Grosbeak June 1 - July 15 5/25 9/22
Lazuli Bunting none 7/27 -
Dickcissel none 7/7 -
Red-winged Blackbird May 15 - June 30 4/29 8/3
Eastern Meadowlark none 5/28 8/10
Western Meadowlark none 4/16 7/23
Yellow-headed Blackbird May 15 - June 15 5/10 7/11
Brewer's Blackbird May 15 - June 15 5/20 7/17
Common Grackle May 15 - June 30 5/14 7/5
Great-tailed Grackle May 15 - June 30 5/10 7/24
Bronzed Cowbird none 6/21 -
Brown-headed Cowbird June 1 - June 30 5/22 8/12
Orchard Oriole none 6/8 6/8
Hooded Oriole none 4/21 8/5
Baltimore Oriole none 6/24 -
Bullock's Oriole June 1 - July 15 5/11 7/31
Scott's Oriole June 1 - July 15 4/29 8/1
Pine Grosbeak none - 8/17
Cassin's Finch none 6/3 8/24
House Finch May 15 - June 15 2/28 8/20
Red Crossbill none 5/19 8/15
Pine Siskin June 15 - July 15 5/19 8/21
Lesser Goldfinch June 15 - July 15 6/2 11/3
American Goldfinch none 6/24 8/12
Evening Grosbeak June 15 - July 15 5/30 10/11
House Sparrow April 1 - July 15 3/11 7/26
 

Previous Section -- Cover Type Group Codes
Return to Handbook Contents
Next Section -- Field Observation Card

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
URL: http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/projects/nmbba/safedate.htm
Page Contact Information: Webmaster
Page Last Modified: Friday, 01-Feb-2013 18:02:34 EST
Menlo Park, CA [caww54]