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Fair-weather flocks head north through Colorado

Mark Jaffe
The Denver Post

Colorado is the winter home of more robins and fewer rough-legged hawks as a result of shifting ranges that are taking many avian species north and inland.

An analysis of 40 years of data from the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count has found that 177 of 305 species have shifted their ranges north ” more than 400 miles in the case of the purple finch.

“It is a sign that habitat and food base are shifting northward as climate changes,” said Gary Graham, executive director of Audubon Colorado.



Birds, being highly mobile, are better suited to adapting to these changes, Graham said.

“For any birder or ornithologist, this doesn’t come as a surprise,” said Arvind Panjabi, director of international programs at the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory in Brighton.

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“Still, the Audubon analysis helps put some numbers to what we are all seeing,” said Panjabi, who was not involved in the count.


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