NM Group Ties Bird Count To Habitat Protection

New Mexico – SANTA FE, N.M. (KRWG) There's one week left in the National Audubon Society's annual bird count.

The count wraps up Jan. 5, and members of Audubon New Mexico contend this year's survey is happening as Congress considers measures that would affect the protection of public lands.

The executive director of the New Mexico group, Karyn Stockdale, says basic pillars of habitat protection for birds and other wildlife are being threatened. She says that could have an impact on New Mexico's outdoor recreation and tourism.

Stockdale points to state tourism officials who say ecotourism is the fastest growing segment of the industry. Birdwatchers make up one of the largest groups of eco-tourists.

Bird counting events are planned this weekend in Clovis, Ruidoso, Lea County and the Caballo and Peloncillo mountains of southern New Mexico.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. KWRG