Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve gets its share of international visitors

Located on the edge of the Pacific Flyway, a north-south route for migratory birds extending from Alaska to the tip of South America, the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve is a popular destination for winged visitors and their admirers.

“Take the roadways away and the benches, this is a rough idea of what the valley would look like before man came here,” said senior recreation assistant Jim Hulsey, who has worked at the preserve for 15 years.

The preserve began as a publicly-recognized haven for birds when the Red Rock Audubon Society partnered with expert birders in 1967 for their annual Christmas bird count. At the event, birders explored designated areas to track a habitat’s effects on different species. It became part of Henderson Parks and Recreation in 1998.

Since then, the preserve has identified 295 unique bird species, said public information officer Kim Becker. Every newly sighted bird is reported to the Audubon Society.

“There’s a lot more wildlife in this valley than people realize,” Hulsey said. “Many think nothing lives in the desert.”

The resident desert birds at the preserve include New World quail, loons, grebes, pelicans, ibises, roadrunners, tyrant flycatchers and plovers. It’s important visitors don’t feed them, Becker said, because they will grow to rely on people for food and will forget how to forage for themselves.

The preserve is also home to rabbits, coyotes, bullfrogs, snakes and lizards.

Some other frequent visitors include students on school field trips, scouting groups, senior groups and bird enthusiasts, some of whom visit daily, Becker said.

Many international birders visit to check off species from their list of birds to see. Over the past two years, the preserve has had visitors from the Netherlands, Scotland, Norway, New Zealand and Japan. A map in the entryway has pins to mark the places visitors have traveled from.

The preserve had nearly 12,000 visitors in 2016, Becker said.

“We are actually in European guidebooks,” Hulsey said.

The site is also adjacent to a wastewater reclamation facility, which treats water to be reused in the valley. The preserve partners with it to maintain pond levels and keep up maintenance for various habitats.

Any change to the environment potentially could disrupt the ecosystem, Becker said.

The preserve offers guided tours, and the earlier the visit, the more birds are likely to be seen, Becker said. The staff also provides an electric vehicle they call the “bird mobile,” for visitors with mobility issues. Becker recommends visitors call a week in advance to schedule a tour.

There are birds at the preserve year-round, but their numbers vary depending on the season, Becker said. Winter and early spring are ideal for seeing the various species of duck, while summer is a good time to see native birds.

Fall is when the migrating birds arrive.

For those who tour with Hulsey, he might tell you about the lesser-known history of the Las Vegas Valley: the lush, green trees and large artesian springs. It’s that early vegetation that attracted birds to the valley in the first place.

“They’ve been coming here for millenia,” Hulsey said.

Contact Alex Meyer at ameyer@viewnews.com or 702-383-0496. Follow @alxmey on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Family remembers deceased mother
Family members of Adriann Gallegos remember her. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Restoring classic Corvettes to perfection
Members of the National Corvette Restorers Society Convention talk about what it takes to earn the NCRS Top Flight Award for a restored Corvette at South Point in Las Vegas on Tuesday July 17, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like