The high-altitude cold-desert environment of the San Luis Valley in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico provides vital habitat for many different species. Wetlands, sparsely scattered around the valley on private and public lands, provide water, shelter, and food for wildlife.
Raptors from the high arctic winter over in the San Luis Valley as the expansive land here is similar to their summer breeding grounds in the arctic. In summer, raptors from as far away as Patagonia migrate to the valley where the agricultural fields and grasslands are reminiscent of the Pampas region of Argentina.
Thousands of Sandhill Cranes and waterbirds use the San Luis Valley as a “staging area” before their final migration north in March or south in October. The cranes perform elaborate courtship dances in the valley.
Surrounded by the 14,000 peaks of the Sangre de Cristo and the San Juan Mountains, this 4,000 square mile valley supports many wildlife species while also providing valuable agriculture resources to keep us humans fed.