Department biologists investigate avian mortality in New Mexico

SANTA FE – Over the past week, Department biologists have been working with federal agencies, avian researchers and other colleagues to document and to identify the cause of statewide avian mortalities. Biologists are working diligently with our partners to determine the number of deaths and the reason for the occurrence.

The Department is interested in your observations and photos to track the avian mortality event in New Mexico. To submit your observations and photos, please use the iNaturalist app. Here are instructions on how to share your observations related to recent avian mortalities with us using the “Southwest Avian Mortality Project” in the iNaturalist app:

Download the free app from your app store (or visit the website:

Open the app.
Touch the camera icon.
Take a photo, or select a photo from your photo library. You can also make a text observation.
Fill in whatever details you want to add. Your smartphone will know the time and location and will fill in those details automatically (unless you’re on a WiFi-only tablet like many iPads, in which case you will need to put a pin on the map).
Touch the Save button.
Touch Upload.

Add your observations to the “Southwest Avian Mortality Project.” Keep in mind that you can add multiple photos to one observation. Just touch the camera icon again to add another photo. It’s quite handy to take an assortment of photos of the different features you see to help someone else identify it or confirm an identification you made. If your critter is small or far away, you can hold your smartphone camera up to a magnifying glass or binoculars.

Over the past week, Department biologists have collected approximately 300 samples from the public and partner agencies.
Samples will be sent to the National Wildlife Health Center. Samples are also being collected by biologists at White Sands Missile Range and New Mexico State University. Migratory song birds such as warblers and swallows are the primary species that have been collected.