Brown-capped Rosy-Finches, Sirens of the Mountain Tops
Join Guest Speaker Luke Arnold, Science Director of the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies
Saturday, May 19, 2018
11am - 12pm
Wild Birds Unlimited Fort Collins at 3636 S. College Ave.
Brown-capped Rosy Finches (Leucosticte australis) nest at higher elevations than any other bird species in the United States, and their breeding distribution is almost entirely limited to Colorado. They spend most of the year well above tree line, feeding on seeds and insects on snow fields and in short tundra vegetation moving to lower elevations for short periods during winter storms. Despite residing in an almost pristine environment for most of the year, Brown-capped Rosy Finches have declined by as much as 95% over the past 50 years and, unfortunately, we don’t know why. The Bird Conservancy of the Rockies in collaboration the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of California at Santa Cruz, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the US Forest Service is initiating a research program to better understand the causes of their decline. I will summarize the information we currently know about rosy finches and our plans for future research.
Luke has spent a lifetime studying birds across North America. His interest in birds started when he was an undergraduate at Reed College under the mentorship of David DeSante. From there he went to the University of New Mexico where he earned his Master’s and PhD followed by post-doctoral research on grassland birds at Colorado State University. He became a faculty member in the Wildlife Department at Humboldt State University in 1991 and taught there for 21 years before moving into the Science Director position at the Bird Conservancy. His research has focused on songbird ecology, demography, habitat selection, and conservation. He has authored more than 75 scientific papers and technical reports on wildlife research and natural resource conservation and management. He became Science Director at the Bird Conservancy in July 2016.