Big Bend is located in the Chihuahuan Desert, one of four major deserts in the United States. It may sem counterintuitive but there are more bird species here than almost anywhere else in the country. This is due to the wide variety of habitats, some of which are not desert-like at all, as well as its location along many migration routes.
"Big Bend National Park has national significance as the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States. It is home to about 450 species of birds, more than any other national park in the United States. Thirty-one species of snakes, twenty-two species of lizards, and four species of turtles have been found in Big Bend National Park," and it contains one of the most diverse assemblages of butterflies in the U.S."
- National Park Service (http://www.nps.gov/bibe)
Image: In keeping with the theme of astronomy in Trip 9, sunset over big bend can seem like orbiting the earth upside down in the space shuttle.