Rosyfinch Ramblings
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April 2008
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Rosy-Finch Flocks Not Visiting Today
Filed under: General, Birding & Outdoors, NM & SW US, Grandchildren, Sandia Crest
Posted by: Ken @ 11:45 am

Flag stopped waving- flocks have departedUpdate on the Rosy-Finches of Sandia Crest, New Mexico.  The flag has stopped waving– flocks of  Rosy-Finches are no longer visiting the feeders at Sandia Crest House. A few individual rosy-finches are still being seen. Feeders will be coming down soon.  Please report any late sightings.

New Bird Species Discovered on New Mexico Mountain

On this winter’s last day of banding rosy-finches at Sandia Crest, the team trapped a bird that had features of several different species. It was finch-like, but definitely not a rosy-finch, although it flocked together with them. It had a distinctive two-syllable call, sounding somewhat like a Killdeer.

The banders took numerous photos and even blood and feather samples for DNA analysis, then released it back into the wild, sporting a special blue leg band. Today, after Steve and Nancy Cox and their team had reviewed all the photos and were still unable to classify the bird, the UNM Medical Center laboratory released the results of the blood analysis. Their mystery bird’s DNA did not match that of any other known species. It will be classified as the only member of a new family, to be placed after the finches (Fringillidae).

We understand that there is now some dissension among the banding team members as to what to name the new species. Should it bear the surname of the senior researchers, or perhaps be named after the location in which it was found? Or the proprietor of the Crest House? To avoid bloodshed, they all agreed it would be named onomatopoeically, after its shrill cry of “loof-lirpa, loof-lirpa, loof-lirpa!” The Loof Lirpa!!

Rosy-Finch Flocks Not Visiting Feeders Today

Seriously, staff at Sandia Crest House reported today that they have not seen any rosy-finch flocks since March 29. However, some rosy-finches may still occasionally visit the feeders.  Dave and Fran plan to take the feeders down this week.

In past years, flocks have sometimes persisted as late as April 13, so it is possible that they are still in the area. As snow cover diminishes they have less need to visit the feeders.

Birders who may visit should report any observations, whether of flocks or individuals, in the sightings log. We would like to pinpoint the actual dates of departure of both flocks and stragglers.

On the Home Front

Here is the oldest of our eight grandchildren, first “BEFORE:”

And NOW:

Need I say we are proud, indeed? And we are not fooling!!!!


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