Bird of the Week

Photo courtesy Ben Bailey

This week’s Bird of the Week, compliments of the Weminuche Audubon Society and Audubon Rockies, is the brown-capped rosy finch.
The brown-capped is the least common of our three varieties of rosy finches. The brown-capped is found only in Colorado and northern New Mexico. Its body is chocolate brown. The plumage varies, but you may see pink highlights in the wings, tail and belly. Migration is altitudinal; the birds move down the mountains, rather than flying southward in winter. A non-breeding bird’s bill is yellow now, but will darken for breeding season.
This species visits feeders and that is your best bet for observation at this time of year. Look for a flock of as many as 50 birds, moving quickly and all together as a group. In summer, nest sites can be found above treeline wherever there are proper cliffs, caves, rock slides, old buildings, railroad tunnels, mines or steep cliffs.
National Audubon calls this bird “uncommon and local. Its isolated mountaintop habitats are likely to be especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change.” The species appears on a State of the Birds Watch List, which lists species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action. Keeping track of sightings is, therefore, especially important.
For information on local bird-watching events, visit www.weminucheaudubon.org and www.facebook.com/weminucheaudubon/.

This story was posted on March 10, 2019.