Historic Site Activities
Social Media Contests and Activities
The Regional Manager for Coronado and Jemez Historic Sites, Matt Barbour is offering on-line contests for visitors to virtually enjoy the two historic sites. Also available are historic site lesson plans to learn at home. New contests and lesson plans will be posted here as they are launched.
NMHS Lesson Plans:
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, NMHS Instructional Coordinators are working to develop online educational material for teachers, parents, and children of all ages. These materials are provided free for your enjoyment at http://www.nmhistoricsites.org/virtual-classroom. Coronado Historic Site Education Coordinator Boggs released the first lesson plan on Coronado, “Kuaua Pueblo through Time” April 1. This was followed by Jemez Historic Site Education Coordinator Magdalena on April 5 with the lesson, “Musical Instruments of the Pueblo People,”.
New Lesson plans will be posted every three or four days.
From the Regional Manager, Coronado and Jemez Historic Sites- Matt Barbour
Matt is bringing to our attention a new book edited by Clay Mathers. Clay has done a
lot for Coronado Historic Site. This book is called Modeling Entradas, Sixteenth-Century
Assemblages in North America. Please open the attachment Modeling Entradas.pdf for
additional information about the book.
Matt has written many articles on a variety of topics. Two very entertaining articles
based on his research are attached here:
Ranger Annie Campagna has provided reading material about the Greater Roadrunner
Correcaminos norteno (Geococcyx californianus)
(Photo by Jack Ellis)
Name: Roadrunners are named for their habit of speeding across the
ground: Correcaminos means “runner of the roads” in Spanish, norteno
“of the north”
Size: Adults 20 to 24 inches long beak to tip of the tail, wings short and
Color: Plumage speckled black and white above, with a greenish
iridescent cast, and white below, the bare skin of their legs and around their eyes is bright blue.
Range: Central California east to western Arkansas and Texas
Habitat: Open country including desert, chaparral, sagebrush, and arid plains
Roadrunners strut the desert terrain on long, bare legs, spearing insects and lizards with their strong sharp beaks. They are year-round residents thriving despite the fierce summer heat, chill winter, wide day to night temperature swings, and food armed with spines, venom, and stinging hairs.
During winter, when food is in short supply other desert residents take to the earth or move away – but not roadrunners. Instead, these carnivores turn to solar energy. First thing each morning roadrunners hop to an exposed perch and turn their backs to the sun. They drop their tails, spread their wings wide, and lift the speckled feathers on their back and crest, exposing a “solar panel” of jet black under feathers and skin. Ornithologists Robert Ohmart and Robert Lasiewski found that roadrunners sun themselves to jump-start their metabolisms after dropping their body temperatures overnight to save energy. Although other birds lower their body temperatures overnight only roadrunners draw on the sun's energy to warm up, rather than increasing their metabolic rate.
True to their names roadrunners only fly short hops, hunting on foot, not on the wing. Correcaminos are agile and a fleet of foot, speeding as fast as 15 MPH across the desert in pursuit of prey, “watch her race across the sand, full speed, after a lizard. Watch her put out a wing, change course again, plunge headlong into a clump of cactus, and emerge, whacking his limp victim on the ground,” writes ornithologist George Sutton, in Bent’s Life Histories of Birds.” Once a roadrunner stuns or kills its prey by banging it on the ground, the bird, lacking teeth, swallows its meal whole, headfirst.
These opportunists’ carnivores are renowned for their ability to kill and consume venomous creatures, including tarantulas, centipedes, scorpions, and even small rattlesnakes. Roadrunners tend to eat whatever is handy and are known for their varied diet including, large insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, and caterpillars, lizards, snakes, rodents, nestling birds, and bird eggs. In winter when meat is harder to come by, they supplement with cactus and other wild fruits and seeds.
Each year roadrunners renew their pair bonds with an elaborate courtship that includes songs, chases, and gifts of food. The males sing to lure in their mates uttering low, melodic cooing sings, like deep-voiced doves. Pairs chase each other across the ground, up into bushes and low trees, even across roofs, down to the ground again, around and around. The male signals his readiness to mate by bringing his intended an offering which is typically given only after mating has taken place.
Like many other desert-dwellers, roadrunners time their mating to the seasonal rains, when food is most abundant. In the Mojave Desert, they nest in the spring, after winter rains: in the Chihuahuan Desert, they court and nest in late summer, after the monsoons. In the Sonoran Desert, if both winter and summer rains are sufficient, correcaminos nest twice a year.
Roadrunners share nesting building duties and incubation. They take turns sitting on the eggs during the day, but the male takes the chilly night shift, allowing the female to recoup some of the energy spent laying eggs. The three to six eggs hatch asynchronously –one to several days’ apart – revealing featherless, coal-black nestlings. If food is short, the parents feed only the older, more aggressive ones. The younger ones starve and are eaten by parents or siblings, thus ensuring the survival of at least some of the family and the continuance of their genetic line.
While one parent hunts for food for the nestlings, the other parent stays on the nest, wings spread wide, shading the naked brood from the hot sun. When air temperatures climb above their 101-degree body temperature, roadrunners, like humans turn to evaporative cooling: they vibrate their throat lining to move air past the moist tissues in their respiratory systems cooling their bodies from within. Typically three weeks after hatching, the young are fully fathered and less vulnerable to the scorching sun. Soon they are speeding across the desert hunting for themselves, all the while entertaining us with all their antics and an abundant personality.
Nothing else that lives in the desert not even a spiny cactus or a resinous creosote bush, seems more at home there. –Joseph Wood Krutch, The Desert Year
Excerpt and paraphrase from Seasons in the Desert a naturalist’s notebook by Susan J Tweit. (1998)
Activities that continue via Telecommunication, Social Media, Telelearning:
Social Media Contests:
Throughout the months of April and May, Coronado and Jemez Historic Site are offering small contests on Facebook and Instagram to engage site visitors and build community during the COVID-19 Pandemic. These contests are sponsored by the Friends of Coronado and Jemez Historic Site with all prizes being provided by Sunfather’s Gift Shop.
NMHS Lesson Plans:
NMHS Instructional Coordinators are working to develop online educational material for teachers, parents, and children of all ages. These materials are provided free of charge at http://www.nmhistoricsites.org/virtual-classroom. Coordinator Boggs released the first lesson plan on Coronado, “Kuaua Pueblo through Time” on April 1. This was followed by Coordinator Magdalena with the Jemez lesson, “Musical Instruments of the Pueblo People,” on April 5. New Lesson plans are posted every three or four days.
Historic Site News:
On March 13, intensive rains caused a section of the south wall of the painted kiva at Coronado Historic Site to collapse. The damage was only to the outer layer of adobe bricks. The murals remain unharmed behind one or two layers of adobe bricks and plaster. However, the damage was great enough to expose the interior sections of the roof, as well as flaws in the original design (installed 10 years ago). A tent was installed over the kiva on April 15 to prevent further damage to the structure. Repairs to the structure, including the installation of a new roof, are anticipated to occur in the Fall of 2020.
Facebook Event – Jemez Earth Day Hike:
Join Instructional Coordinator Marlon Magdalena on a virtual hike up Oak Canyon. Coordinator Magdalena will identify species of flora and fauna encountered and discuss their importance to the indigenous people of New Mexico. The hike is viewable at
https://www.facebook.com/jemezhistoricsite/. You have to hunt for it by scrolling down in the listing of items but once found, it is enjoyable to watch and hear.
April is all about the birds at Coronado and Jemez Historic Site. A brief slideshow of on Birding in the Jemez Mountains, developed by Ranger Vita, is now available online at http://www.nmhistoricsites.org/jemez/birding-in-the-jemez. This virtual display (currently in beta version) includes not only pictures of the animals, but the sounds they make. It accompanies the “Birding for Sacred Feathers” lesson plan by Coordinator Magdalena at http://www.nmhistoricsites.org/virtual-classroom/jemez-virtual-classroom and “The Birds of Kuaua Contest” produced by Coordinator Boggs at https://www.facebook.com/CoronadoHistoricSite/.