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Sandia Crest Rosy-Finch Update
Filed under: General, Birding & Outdoors, NM & SW US, Sandia Crest
Posted by: Ken @ 11:00 am

UPDATE: April 13, 2010. The flag has stopped waving. The last flocks of rosy-finches were seen on April 9th. Interestingly, the flocks at Taos Ski Valley disappeared at almost the same time. No stragglers have been reported at either location. The feeder has been taken down, but please report any late sightings. A summary of this past winter’s sightings and banding results may be viewed at this link. Now the hummingbird feeders go up, to be welcomed by Broad-tailed, Black-chinned, Calliope, and later, Rufous Hummingbirds. Check out the many links in for more information about great year-round birding in the Sandia Mountains east of Albuquerque, New Mexico. If you have a request for information, or wish to provide a report on your birding trip to the Sandia Mountains, please visit the SANDIA CREST BIRDING FORUM.

Black Rosy-Finch (Leucosticte atrata)

on November 22,  and again on December 14, at the 10K  trailhead along road to Sandia Crest, and seen on January 17 (and heard on the 31st)  in Kiwanis Meadow just south of the Crest House, along with a pair of  AMERICAN THREE-TOED WOODPECKERS


Click for Cedar Crest, New Mexico Forecast
Weather Note: Temperature at Sandia Crest (10,678′) is usually about 11 degrees cooler than that currently displayed at this station in Cedar Crest (7100′). Click on icon for full Sandia Mountain weather outlook.

Notes from Feeder Project Coordinators,
 Fran Lusso and Dave Weaver

Date: April 13, 2010

Hi Ken,

I went up to the Crest today, where it was clear and very windy with temperatures around 26 - 28 degrees (F).  The snow is dissipating quickly, with 1 to 3 feet in shady areas and most of the snow melted away in sunny areas. 

I have attached a log update that shows the last recorded rosy finch sighting on April 9th.  The Crest House staff say that they have not seen any finches since “before the weekend”.  I waited over an hour and did not see any.

I took down the feeder but left enough seed for the Crest House staff to continue to put seed out for a while longer in hopes of attracting any stragglers.  But I think it is likely that the finches are gone. 

I will go up to the Crest next week to check on things and probably to bring down the project equipment and any remaining seed.

Hope all is well!


…The Crest House is now serving sub sandwiches to order and still serving the rest of the old menu that does not require the grill, oven or fryer.  The staff says that visitors are doing fine with the new menu…

Latest From the Rosy-Finch Banding Team

February 28, 2010

Hi all,

Today was another good day at the Crest House.  We only newly banded 2 Brown-capped Rosy-Finches but we recaptured 124 other Rosy-Finches.  Seven of these were birds from previous seasons that we had not seen before.  One was a Black Rosy-Finch that we originally banded on 5 February 2005.  She is now in her 7th year.

The road was clear but there is a lot of ice between the parking lot and the Crest House.

Nancy & Steve

= = = = =


We have added a Sandia Crest Birding  community FORUM to the Web suite. This feature will permit all who have an interest in rosy-finches and year-round birding in the Sandia Mountains to directly post current observations, banding reports, photos, research updates, requests for information or assistance in planning a visit. We also invite all rosy-finch observers and researchers world-wide to utilize this new means of communication to exchange information.  It supplants the “Correspondence” feature; older correspondence may still be viewed at the second link below.


Don’t miss seeing this stunningly beautiful local PBS documentary about the Sandias that includes a segment on the rosy-finches, now archived on-line.  Click on the thumbnail to the left for the  KNME Film, The Sandias, to view the movie on  The four chapters of this film document a project for a one-night spectacular light show, but also delve into the cultural, geologic and natural history of the mountain. Chapter One describes the ecology of the Sandias, and features the rosy-finch banding project near the end. There are great views of the birds taken at the Crest House, at the feeders and in the hand, not to mention wonderful photography that makes me really miss my former mountain home!

Below is a view of the Paa-Ko Golf Course (about 7000 feet elevation, near the foot of the 13 mile road up to Sandia Crest, which is at 10,678 feet) on March 27, 2009. Click on the photo during daytime to see the current  Web-cam view of this same scene.

One Response to “Sandia Crest Rosy-Finch Update”

  1. Kelly Says:
    I would love to see this bird…the pink and dark gray are so pretty.

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