Shelledy Elementary

Birds

Colorado Life Zones: Seasons, Plants, & Animals

Step 1: Choose One of the Life Zones or Choices Below

Life Zones Menu Bar
Colorado Life Zones General Information Interactive Elevation & Life Zone Diagram Colorado Maps: Life Zones and More Semidesert Shrublands (West CO) Shortgrass Plains Life Zone (East CO) Foothills Woodlands & Shrublands Montane Forests Life Zone Subalpine Life Zone Alpine Life Zone Riparian Life Zones

Alpine Life Zone: Seasons, Plants, & Animals

Step 2: Choose a Topic from the Alpine Life Zone & Scroll Down

General Information
General Information

Through the Seasons
Through the Seasons

Altitude Sickness & Sunburns
Altitude Sickness & Sunburns

Awesome Adaptations
Awesome Adaptations

Plants
Plants

Mammals
Mammals

Birds
Birds

Reptiles & Amphibians

Birds of the Alpine Life Zone

Again, most birds live there only during the short alpine summer. The broad-tailed hummingbird drinks the nectar from the many flowers. The white-crowned sparrow and other small birds eat the seeds produced by the alpine plants and grasses. The wide open meadows make it easy for golden eagles to soar in the wind and hunt the animals during the short summer. The american dipper bobs in and out of the alpine streams hunting for insects and fresh water shrimp.

Golden Eagle

Peregrine Fund

Mercerburg's Academy

CO p of Wildlife

Animal Files

Golden Eagle

White-tailed Ptarmigan

All About Birds

Nature Works

CSU NDIS

White-tailed Ptarmigan

American Dipper

All About Birds

South Dakota Birds

Bird Web

CSU NDIS

American_Dipper

White-crowned Sparrow

All About Birds

Nature Works

CSU NDIS

White-crowned Sparrow

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

All About Birds

Bird Watching Bliss

CSU NDIS

Broad -tailed Hummingbird

Other Birds

Mountain Bluebird
Horned Lark
Common Raven
Clark's Nutcracker
American Pipit
Brown-capped Rosy Finch

& Some more birds during summer

_______________ _______________

Awesome Adaptations: White-tailed Ptarmigan

Only the white-tailed ptarmigan will make the alpine and subalpine life zone its home for most of the year. During the many cold snowy months, it has white feathers. It grows warm white feathers around its legs and feet. The birds will hide under the snow from the cold wintery weather. The layers of snow and warm feathers help keep the ptarmigan alive. It also uses its layers of fat that were put on during the summer for warmth and energy in the cold wintery months. In addition, they can stay still for long periods of time in order to save more energy. The white-tailed ptarmigan is well-adapted to live in the cold wintery alpine and subalpine life zones.

In late spring, it molts or loses its warm white winter feathers and grows speckled grayish-brown feathers. The new feathers can camouflage or hide the birds so well in the rocks and the ptarmigans can stay so still that hikers may almost step on the birds before they even know the birds are there. Ptarmigans need to eat lots of seeds, flowers, plants, and insects over the short summer to build up a new layer of fat for the next winter. When the snow returns, the ptmarigan grows a brand new set of warm white feathers and molts or loses its grayish brown summer feathers.

Sources of information and to find more information: All About Birds, Nature Works, CSU NDIS

Changing Feathers in the Fall

Winter Feathers

White-tailed Ptarmigan White-tailed Ptarmigan
White-tailed Ptarmigan White-tailed Ptarmigan
Masters of Camouflage Masters of Camouflage