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Birds & Birding Regional Birder

This is regional birding information for:

Rocky Mountains
September 2014

Several kinds of forests cover the rugged terrain of the Rocky Mountains. In the central and southern Rockies, the lower slopes and plateaus are covered with pines, and spotted with grassy meadows that are grazed by herds of deer, elk and bison, in parks, such as Yellowstone National Park, and other preserves.

Higher up and farther north, the slopes of the Rockies are covered with spruce and fir, but dotted with open clearings and stands of aspen.

Higher yet, at tree line, twisted pines and other conifers hold on to life with tough roots, overhung by towering rocky outcroppings where golden eagles soar, and sure-footed mountain sheep and goats thrive.

Backyard Birds

In the backyards of Rocky Mountain residents, the most common birds that are attracted to food, water and natural cover are the mountain chickadee, cliff swallow, mountain bluebird, broad-tailed hummingbird, Clark's nutcracker, gray jay, red-naped sapsucker, downy and hairy woodpeckers, western tanager, evening grosbeak, pine siskin, house and Cassin's finches, white-crowned sparrow, Lazuli bunting, warbling vireo, house and rock wrens.

Regional Birds

Birdlife is most abundant in the lower habitats of pines and grassy meadows that provide food and cover to the mountain chickadee, varied thrush, mountain bluebird, western tanager, evening and black-headed grosbeaks, red crossbill, fox sparrow, western meadowlark, and black-billed magpie. Higher up, look for Clark's nutcracker, rosy-finches, broad-tailed hummingbird, white-throated swift, blue grouse and white-tailed ptarmigan. And, in mountain streams, see if you can spot an American dipper plunging into the fast-moving white water.

What's happening in your backyard this month
  • Confusing fall warblers and other neotropical migrants are passing through, some stopping to bathe and drink.
  • Many summer birds have gone south, leaving a few juveniles on their own to find their way.
  • Hummingbirds and orioles are still feeding on sugar water; many may be migrants.
  • Waterfowl, wading birds and raptors on the move; may drop into backyards for rest and food.
What to do in your backyard this month
  • Increase the numbers and kinds of bird feeders; offer greater variety of seeds, suet and fruits.
  • Maintain feeders with mealworms for bluebirds and robins; jelly and sugar water for hummingbirds and orioles.
  • Keep bird baths clean, filled and fresh; September can be hot and dry; migrants often need a wet pit stop.
  • Create brush piles with fall clippings for ground feeding birds; plant evergreens and other hardy cover plants.
 

 

 

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