Brown-headed rosy finches

Clyde Burnett, Peak to Peak.  The springtime flocks of hundreds of brown-headed rosy finches have not been observed on my deck for nearly 20 years. A few small flocks have been reported at other locations north of here. The wintertime influx of rosies has been completely absent at this 9,000 ft. location. But they’re back!

The nesting habitat for rosies has been the mountain cliffs near the Continental Divide. The easy source of seeds and insects for the nestlings on the melting springtime snowfields was apparently an attraction.


With the beginnings of climate change the snowfields had become undependable: I speculate this to be the cause for their search for other nesting sites. Now the return of the Eldora snowpack of over 180% has inspired the return of my rosy finches. My offering of sunflower seeds for local chickadees and nuthatches attracted a small flock of 2 dozen rosies this morning. And 20 minutes later the flock had increased by at least a factor of 3. While this is reminiscent of my springtime flocks of the past, these have only a hint of spring plumage.

The weather extremes of climate change have been confusing, but when you understand the global warming effect of Nature’s Greenhouse Effect, the heavy mountain snows generated in the mountains by the strong atmospheric river from the warm Pacific is a logical result. The rosies’ response is at least a temporary reprieve from their climate change-induced demise.

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