Colorado Life Zones: Seasons, Plants, & Animals
Step 1: Choose One of the Life Zones or Choices Below
CO Life Zone Menu Bar
Colorado Life Zones General information Interactive Life Zone Diagram Colorado Life Zones Maps Semidesert Shrublands Life Zone West CO Shortgrass Prairie or Plains Life Zones Foothills Woodlands and Shrublands Montane Forests Life Zone Subalpine Life Zone Alpine Life Zone Riparian Life Zones
Montane Forests Life Zone: Seasons, Plants, & Animals
Step 2: Choose a Topic from the Montane Forests Life Zone & Scroll Down

Montane Forests Life Zone General Information

General Information

Montane Forests Life Zone Through the Seasons

Through the Seasons

Montane Forests Life Zone Mountain Pine Beetle

Mountain Pine Beetle

Montane Forests Life Zone Awesome Adaptations Awesome Adaptations

Montane Forests Life Zone Plants and Trees

Plants and Trees

Montane Forests Life Zone  Mammals

Mammals

Montane Forests Life Zone Birds

Birds

Montane Forests Life Zone Reptiles and Amphibians

Reptiles & Amphibians

Birds of the Montane Forests Life Zone

    The montane forests come alive with birds from late spring to early fall.  The many trees provide protection and a place to build nests.  Smaller birds eat the seeds from pine cones and grasses. With all the water and ponds, insects quickly hatch and provide more food for the birds. The montane forests can be an important habitat for birds migrating north and south.  When the snow and cold weather comes again to the montane, most birds fly to lower elevations or further south.  Only a few birds like the gray jay, hairy woodpecker, and mountain chickadee can live there all year.

    The montane forests provide a challenge to birds of prey. It can be challenging flying in between the many trees with their longer wings trying to catch their prey. Hawks and owls have learned to become expert flyers weaving in and out of the trees. Often times, they focus less on speed and more on control.  

Northern Goshawk

Peregrine Fund

Mercerburg's Academy

CSU NDIS

Northern Goshawk

Cooper's Hawk

Peregrine Fund

Mercerburg's Academy

CSU NDIS

Cooper's Hawk

Great Horned Owl

Peregrine Fund

Nature Works

CO Div of Wildlife

Animal Files

Great Horned Owl

Common Raven

All About Birds

Hogle Zoo

Common Raven

Flammulated Owl

All About Birds

Peregrine Fund

CSU NDIS

Flammulated Owl

Hairy

Woodpecker

Utah Div of Wildlife


Downy Woodpecker

Nature Works

Hairy Woodpecker

Gray Jay

All About Birds

Nature Works

CSU NDIS

 

Gray Jay

Wild Turkey

Nature Works

Hogle Zoo

Wild Turkey

Mountain Chickadee

All About Birds

CO Div of Wildlife

Utah Div of Wildlife

Mountain Chickadee

Mountain Bluebird

All About Birds

Nature Works

CO Div of Wildlife

Mountain Bluebird

Yellow Warbler

All About Birds

CSU NDIS

Utah Div of Utah

Yellow Warbler

Evening Grossbeak

All About Birds

CSU NDIS

Utah Div of Wildlife

Evening Grossbeak

Western Tanager

All About Birds

Nature Works

CSU NDIS

Western Tanager

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

All About Birds

Bird Watching Bliss

CSU NDIS

broad-tailed hummingbird

Blue or Dusky Grouse

All About Birds

Nature Works

CO Div of Wildlife

Blue or Dusky Grouse

Other Birds

 

Black-billed Magpie

Common Crow

Clark's Nutcracker

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Hermit Thrush

Brown Creeper

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Steller's Jay

Red Crossbill

Band Tailed Pigeon

Western Wood-pewee

Red-tailed Hawk

Many More Birds

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Awesome Adaptations: Broad-tailed Hummingbird

    The broad-tailed hummingbird may be small, but it can do incredible things. The broad-tailed hummingbird is a migratory bird, meaning it travels south to Mexico for the winter and returns north to the Rocky Mountains for the summer. During the migration, the hummingbird may fly thousands of miles each year. They come back to the high Rocky Mountains for the large numbers of wildflowers that take over the hillsides in the late spring and summer. The hummingbird flies from flower to flower and drinks the sweet nectar. The hummingbird also eats many small flying insects for protein. It can flap its wings 40 to 50 times a second, allowing the bird to hover in the air and fly in every direction. Flying requires lots of energy and the hummingbird must get nectar from many flowers. The male humminbird's feathers may shine bright green on the back and bright reddish pink by the throat. The bright colors helps attract females.

    The broad-tailed hummingbird has made an even more amazing adaption to live in the mountains. Night-time temperatures may drop more than 30 degrees F from the day-time high temperatures. This drop in temperatures would be deadly for many birds. Yet, the tiny broad-tailed hummingbird has found a way to slow down its heart beat and let its body temperature drop down to 54 degrees F. This is called torpor and saves the hummingbird lots of energy overnight. When the sun rises and heats the land again, the hummingbird's temperature returns to normal and flies around looking for nectar and small flying insects.

    Considering flying thousands of miles each year on their migration, hovering in mid-air and flying in every direction, and slowing its heart beat down and cooling its body down every night, the tiny broad-tailed hummingbird is one awesomely adapted bird.

Sources of information and to find more information: All About Birds, Bird Watching Bliss, CSU NDIS

broad-tailed hummingbird broad-tailed hummingbird