The Ladd S. Gordon Waterfowl Complex is composed of the Belen, Casa Colorada, Bernardo, and La Joya Waterfowl Areas.

The Belen Waterfowl Area (250 acres) is situated along the Rio Grande river bottom and farmed to provide feed for wintering waterfowl. Crops here include corn and grain sorghum, with winter wheat and alfalfa for green feed. No recreational facilities.

The NM Game Commission acquired Casa Colorada's 423 acres to help feed wintering waterfowl. Birds fly from Casa Colorada to private lands and nearby state and federal wildlife refuges. Generally, grain crops are left standing until needed for feed, then knocked down. Non-farmed areas provide enhanced habitat for pheasants, furbearers and raptors. Public entry is generally closed except during hunting season.

Bernardo Waterfowl Area contains a wildlife trail complete with viewing and photographic towers and is open to the public. The Bernardo area first came under NMG&F control through a lease made in 1961 with the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. Its 1573 acres include about 450 acres of crops including corn, grain sorghum and green feed. The area contains widely scattered cottonwoods, growths of tamarisk, a pond and a small marsh and lies in a river bottom with the Rio Grande nearby. For those who enjoy bird watching, this is a fine place to observe waterfowl, cranes and some upland birds during the fall and winter months. There are no recreational sites on the management area.

La Joya Waterfowl Area contains ponds, canals and ditches for wintering waterfowl. Grass and brushy stands harbor quail, dove and songbirds. Purchases began in 1928 and continued through 1940, bringing the total to 3550 acres. Waterfowl hunting is permitted during open season, and fishing is open in the summer. Bird watching is yearlong entertainment. La Joya has no recreational facilities.

Ornithological Summary

A resting and feeding area for thousands of ducks, geese, and cranes during migration and winter.


New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, 1 Wildlife Way, Santa Fe, NM 87507, 505-476-8000

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