You Are a Visitor in Someone Else’s Home

The Nambé Badlands is an important place for many.

This was true long ago, it is true now, and it will be in the future.

Respect for the Residents – The Wildlife

Wildlife lives in the badlands.  Many species require a quiet, undisturbed location to raise their young and for shelter. Raptors nest on the cliffs and in the trees, bats roost under the cap rocks on hoodoos, mammals have homes they have dug into the soft soils, and reptiles live and hibernate among the rocks.  Wildlife is attracted to the Nambé Badlands for its remoteness.

Lying between the higher altitude Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the lower elevation Rio Nambé, Pojoaque River, and Rio Grande riparian zones, the Nambé Badlands is a vital wildlife corridor.  Arroyos, ridgelines, and meadows in the badlands are used as routes by wildlife between these different ecosystems.

Our presence in the badlands affects wildlife movements. A nesting raptor may avoid leaving her young when a human is nearby — thereby reducing her caloric intake needed to take care of her nestlings and limiting her time gathering food to feed them.

When we are out in the badlands, we often do not see any wildlife.  They are there, though, hiding via their camouflage, sleeping on a ledge above the trail or in their dens.  The wildlife sees or hears us long before we notice them.  So even though you may think you are the only living being in the remote badlands, you are not alone.

Great Horned Owl and owlet in the Nambe Badlands, New Mexico

Nesting Great Horned Owls in the Nambé Badlands.
(Cropped photo taken ethically from a long distance with a 1200 mm lens — to not disturb the owls)

  • When you run into a rattlesnake warming itself on the trail, realize you are in its home, and it is there for a reason.
  • The owl you see roosting on a ledge hidden far down a narrow arroyo chose that place for its remoteness — away from people.
  • When your dog has fun chasing that fast jackrabbit, your dog may have gotten some needed exercise, but the rabbit just lost valuable calories needed to survive.
  • When you post your picture of a bobcat on social media it gives you a dopamine hit that feels good for a brief moment, but now the word is out attracting more people to the fragile habitat.

Tread lightly in the Nambé Badlands

  • Great-Horned Owl in the Nambé Badlands

  • Wildlife Rely Upon Limited Water Sources in the Nambé Badlands

    Mountain Bluebirds and American Robins drinking from one of the only water sources in the Nambé Badlands

    Mountain Bluebirds and American Robins drinking from a spring in the Nambe Badlands, New Mexico
  • Nesting Great Horned Owls in the Nambé Badlands

    (photographed ethically from a long distance with a 1200 mm lens)

    Great Horned Owl and owlet in the Nambe Badlands, New Mexico
  • Peregrine Falcons Nest in the Nambé Badlands

    Peregrine falcons rely on the cliffs and high-ridgelines in the Nambe Badlands for shelter and roosting

    Peregrine Falcon, New Mexico
  • Raven in the Nambé Badlands

    Raven stealing eggs of nesting raptors in the Santa Fe County
  • American Kestrel and Cavity Nest in the Nambé Badlands

    American Kestrel guarding nest in New Mexico
  • Pinon Jays Nest in the Nambe Badlands

  • Long-eared Owls Nest in the Nambe Badlands

  • Roadrunner in the Nambe Badlands

Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius. 

—E. O. Wilson

(c) Copyright - Friends of the Nambe Badlands / All Rights Reserved