Melrose Woods is an eight-acre woodland, ten miles west of Melrose, New Mexico on US–84/60. The property, also called the Melrose Migrant Bird Trap, is jointly managed through a collaboration between the Bird Alliance of New Mexico and the New Mexico State Land Office.  It is designated an important bird area (IBA) by the National Audubon Society with over 275 species recorded there throughout the past 30 years.

The woodland is a tiny oasis in the middle of the harsh prairie grass landscape of eastern New Mexico and has long been a vital stop-over for birds that winter in Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. With its mix of cottonwoods, silverleaf poplars and native shrubs, it provides rest, food and water to weary birds on their way further north to nest. According to the American Birding Association’s “North American Birds, New Mexico: Fall 2020,” Melrose Woods boasts a staggering list of forty-five new world warblers recorded at this location, the highest count at any single site in the entire United States.


– The area is open to the public year round.
– No permit is required due to the Bird Alliance user lease.
– The coordinates are Latitude 34.431722 N and Longitude 103.80106 W.
– Enter the property from the north side of US-84/60 approximately 26 miles east of Fort Sumner or 36 miles west of Clovis.
– There is limited signage to help locate the entrance – watch for a gate set back from the road and a small white birdwatching sign.
– There are port-a-johns on the property.
– Close the 2 gates behind you as you enter and leave.
– Do not trespass on the surrounding land outside the fenced area.
– Do not leave bird food, bird feeders or bird houses on the property.
– No overnight camping is permitted.


In 2011, a lightning strike caused a fire and significant damage to the Melrose Woods. Following this habitat destruction, our chapter was keen to rectify the original damage and to make further improvements to the site so that visitors might better enjoy birding there. In 2019, this dream became a reality through a collaborative plan with New Mexico State Land Office (NMSLO) and the rancher who holds the overlaying land lease. Our chapter entered into a five-year business lease with NMSLO, who have been able to contribute funding and support aided by their Open for Adventure Initiative directed at increasing recreational activities on state trust land. The improvement project, which began in 2020, is well underway and includes trash cleanup, downed tree removal, native plant and tree restoration, installation of an irrigation system, the placement of informational signage and trails for visitors, and the addition of a permanent source of water for birds.

A dedication was held at Melrose Woods in September 2021 and since then Bird Alliance of Central New Mexico continues to fund and support this project. Our dedicated volunteers clear pathways, remove tumbleweeds, repair fences, monitor water sources, and control litter. While there is still much work to be done, the progress is undeniable, and Melrose Woods continues to improve as a sanctuary for birds and birders.