Because Black Rosy-finch are primarily found in rugged landscapes, they are one of the least-studied birds in North America. As such, the future well-being of Rosy-finches is hampered by an absence of even basic information. Filling data gaps about Black Rosy-finches distribution and abundance is especially critical in Utah to ensure that their populations can be sustained, even in the face of threats like climate change.

In the winter, flocks of Black Rosy-finches visit bird feeders in Utah’s mountains. Ski resorts and the homes around them often maintain bird feeders in the winter where Black Rosy-finches visit.

This Study is developing a network of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)-enabled bird feeders to estimate survival and movement patterns of Black Rosy-finches. RFID is the same technology that is used to track a runner’s time during a marathon or to microchip your pet dog.

Individual birds will be captured by authorized scientists. A small passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag will be attached to the bird’s leg and then the bird will be released unharmed. When PIT tagged birds are near the bird feeders, the reader logs the visit. These data can provide critical information for understanding movement patterns and survival of Black Rosy-finch populations.

The Black Rosy-finch Study will be accepting volunteers to help maintain study sites for fall 2019 through winter 2020.

A pair of Black Rosy-finch  Photo by Janice Gardner

A pair of Black Rosy-finch

Photo by Janice Gardner

Training Required? Yes, dates and times to be announced

Commitment Level: This is a moderate level of dedication project as weekly or monthly commitment required

Requirements: Checking field equipment; a laptop, smart phone, or tablet; a vehicle