The Gila Bird Area runs along the Gila River (and associated valley) from the Gila National Forest boundary below Bill Evans Lake downstream through Gila Bird Area into the Middle Box (BLM) to the southern limit of BLM ownership near Redrock NM. The area supports extensive areas of SW riparian habitat, including much protected land and many restoration projects. The landscape varies from broad valley to narrow canyon.
Directions: From Silver City, drive 25 miles northwest on US 180. Turn left at Bill Evans Lake Road. Go 3.4 miles to the fork in the road. Continue straight on the gravel road for 1.5 miles. The Gila NF is marked by a cattle guard. The gravel road leads to the bird area.
Restored and recently protected areas support large area of southwestern riparian woodlands and assorted avifauna. Breeding Willow Flycatcher (8 pairs), Common Black Hawk, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Lucy's Warbler, Brown-crested Flycatcher. Federal agency ownership assures long-term commitment to preservation. Surveys by R. Shook (1996-2000) include over 200 species that use the Gila Bird Area alone. Only riparian birds were well-documented; upland species numbers and abundance are not known.
Sources: Research by Gila National Forest, R. Shook, D. Zimmerman of WNMU; Rocky Mountain Research Station (Stoleson); B. Murhage (USDI BLM, Las Cruces office)
Upstream, invasion of exotic yellow starthistle becoming problematic - still very rare here, but may become a problem. Because of incisement upstream, some problems with bank erosion. Gila NF has stabilized banks using bio-techniques.
Gila National Forest, 3005 Camino del Bosque, Silver City, NM, 88061, 505-388-8201
Bureau of Land Management, Las Cruces, NM