- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2012. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.7. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: (250-1000 square km (about 100-400 square miles)) Breeding range includes the Wallowa Mountains in northeastern Oregon (Jewett 1924, Miller 1939, AOU 1957). Wintering occurs near the breeding range and southward to central-western Nevada and central-eastern California (McLean 1969). Highest point in the Wallowa Mountains is Sacajawea Peak (2,999 meters). Breeding range extent appears to be greater than 500 square kilometers and somewhat less than 1,000 square kilometers.
Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Comments: Habitat includes barren, rocky or grassy areas and cliffs in the alpine zone. Nests usually are in rock crevices or holes in cliffs. In migration and winter, these birds occur also in open situations, fields, cultivated lands, brushy areas, and around human habitation (AOU 1983).
Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.
Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Migration is primarily elevational and depends in part on weather. Generally, rosy-finches migrate between high elevation breeding areas and lower-elevation wintering areas. Based on limited information on other subspecies, Wallowa rosy-finch probably exhibit a good degree of fidelity to specific breeding and wintering areas Macdougall-Shackleton et al. 2000).
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: 1 - 20
Comments: Number of occurrences has not been determined using standardized criteria. The breeding range could be regarded as a single occurrence or several. In any case, there are relatively few distinct occurrences.
Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but is presumed to be at least several hundred. This subspecies has been regarded as a "locally uncommon" summer resident in the alpine of the high Wallowa Mountains (Evanich 1992), but most of the habitat is not frequented by birders.
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: T2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Small breeding range in alpine zone of Wallowa Mountains, northeastern Oregon; population size is uncertain, but subspecies is regarded as locally uncommon in breeding range; trend is uncertain but probably relatively stable; primary threat appears to be potential reduction of suitable alpine breeding habitat as a result of climate change.
Other Considerations: Oregon Biodiversity Information Center (2010) included this subspecies in their "List 1," which "contains taxa that are threatened with extinction or presumed to be extinct throughout their entire range." No specific reason for this designation was mentioned. In contrast, the subspecies is not listed as endangered, threatened, or sensitive by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife..
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked
Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)
Comments: Trend over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain (the remote nature of the habitat precludes inclusion of this population in the Breeding Bird Survey), but distribution and abundance probably have been relatively stable. Three generations likely span not more than 10 years.
Global Long Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)
Comments: Long-term trend is uncertain, but distribution and abundance probably have been relatively stable over the long term, given the remote, well-protected breeding habitat.
Degree of Threat: High - low
Comments: The primary threat probably is climate change, which in coming decades might cause a reduction in the breeding habitat in the alpine area of the Wallowa Mountains (e.g., if subalpine forest shifts upward in elevation with projected climate warming). On the other hand, climate change might result in increased frequency/intensity of wildfires, keeping present nonforested alpine areas open and/or creating open conditions in sites where forest presently exists and limits breeding by rosy-finches. Habitat during the nonbreeding period does not appear to be limiting; these birds make use of a wide range of (often disturbed) habitats.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Stewardship Overview: Breeding range is well protected within a designated wilderness area but is vulnerable to habitat reductions resulting from projected climate warming. Better information is needed on current breeding distribution and abundance within the Wallowa Mountains. Distinctness of this subspecies needs to be evaluated through modern genetic methods.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: The distinctness of this taxon has not been determined using modern genetic methods.