Albuquerque Lab
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Contact Information

Albuquerque Forestry Sciences Laboratory
333 Broadway SE. Suite 115
Albuquerque, NM 87102-3497
Phone: 505-724-3660
Fax: 505-724-3688

Deborah Finch

d.finch imageProgram Manager and Supervisory Biologist


Ph. D., Zoology and Physiology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, 1987
M.S., Zoology, Arizona State University, Tempe, 1981
B.S., Wildlife Management, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA, 1978


Deb became interested in nature and the outdoors in high school as a member of the science club when a teacher that she remembers as "inspiring" took the group outdoors to identify birds and wildlife. Although she began college as an English major, Deb's goals changed after she took an ecology course and became interested in wildlife management. A bird ecology class stimulated her interest in how species are affected by their environments and how managers can benefit those species.

Current Research

Deb focuses much of her research on riparian environments, specifically evaluating the effects of fire and the removal of invasive plant species and fuel loads to reduce the risk of fire and determining the effects of those measures on TES species, water resources, soils, and interactions between different elements of the ecosystem. She evaluates how processes and functions change and how managers can improve ecosystem conditions. She is also interested in restoration, including thinning, prescribed fire, and adaptation assistance. She is evaluating the impacts of natural resources management practices and natural effects such as weather, climate, and fire on threatened and endangered species populations and is interested in developing conservation techniques and tools to recover TES. Deb also examines neotropical migratory birds in relationship to the effects of natural resource practices and natural phenomena. She is involved in Partners in Flight (PIF), an organization which she helped to develop. She is assessing the vulnerability of species to shifts in climate and has developed support tools that managers can use to assist species to adapt to changing conditions.

Deb is the RMRS Director's Representative for the Albuquerque Lab.

Past Research and Accomplishments

Deb was recognized for her contributions to the field of landbird conservation by PIF in 2006. PIF is a cooperative effort dedicated to combining, coordinating, and increasing public and private resources for the purpose of conserving bird populations in North and South America. She has served as leader for the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Recovery Team and has published conservation assessments on many other species. She was a project leader for 15 years, managing a grasslands and riparian project and numerous scientists. She competed for and was awarded funds for the Middle Rio Grande Ecosystem Management Research Unit, a research effort that has produced 272 publications since 1994.


Partners In Flight, Society for Conservation Biology, Ecological Society of America (Life), The Wildlife Society, American Ornithologists' Union, Cooper Ornithological Society and Wilson Ornithological Society. Reviewer for 19 professional societies.

Selected Publications

Finch, D. M. 1984. Parental expenditure of time and energy in the Abert's Towhee (Pipilo aberti). Auk 101:473-486. PDF

Finch, D. M. 1989. Habitat use and habitat overlap of riparian birds in three elevational zones. Ecology 70:866-880. JSTOR

Finch, D.M. 1990. Effects of predation and competitor interference on nesting success of House Wrens and Tree Swallows. Condor 92:674-687. PDF

Finch, D. M. 1991. Positive associations among riparian bird species correspond to elevational changes in plant communities. Canadian Journal of Zoology 69:951-963. PDF

Finch, D.M. 1991. Population ecology, habitat requirements, and conservation of neotropical migratory birds. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. General Technical Report 205. 26pp. request a copy

Finch, D. M. 1992. Threatened, endangered, and vulnerable species of terrestrial vertebrates of the Rocky Mountain Region. USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. General Technical Report RM-215. 38pp. request a copy

Finch, D.M. and L.F. Ruggiero. 1993. Wildlife habitats and biological diversity in the Rocky Mountains and Northern Great Plains. Natural Areas Journal 12:191-203. link to journal

Finch, Deborah M. and P. Stangel, editors. 1993. Status and Management of Neotropical Migratory Birds. Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Fort Collins, CO. General Technical Report GTR-RM-229

Martin, T. and D. Finch, eds. 1995. Ecology and Management of Neotropical Migratory Birds. A synthesis and review of critical issues. Oxford University Press, NY. 489 pp. available from Oxford University Press

Shaw, D.W. and D.M. Finch, eds. 1996. Desired future conditions for Southwestern riparian ecosystems: Bringing Interests and Concerns Together. Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station, Fort Collins, CO. General Technical Report RM-272. 359 pp.

Block, W.M. and D.M. Finch, eds. 1997. Songbird ecology in southwestern ponderosa pine forests. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-GTR-292. 152 pp. (Blind Review by TWS, AOU, COS).

Finch, D., et al. 1997. Effects and Interactions of fire, logging, and grazing. RM-GTR-292. PDF

Yong, W. and D.M. Finch. 1997. Migration of the willow flycatcher along the middle Rio Grande. Wilson Bulletin 109:253-268. PDF

Garcia, S., D.M. Finch, and G. Chavez Leon. 1998. Patterns of forest use and endemism in resident bird communities of north-central Michoacan, Mexico. Forest Ecology and Management 110:151-171.

Kelly, J. F and D.M. Finch. 1998. Tracking migrant songbirds with stable isotopes.Trends in Ecology and Evolution 13: 48-49 PDF

Yong, W., D.M. Finch, F.R. Moore, and J.F. Kelly. 1998. Stopover ecology and habitat use of migratory Wilson's Warblers. Auk 115:829-842. PDF

Finch, D.M., J.C. Whitney, J.F. Kelly, and S.R. Loftin, eds. 1999. Rio Grande Ecosystems: Linking Land, Water, and People. Rocky Mountain Research Station, Proceedings RMRS-P-7. 245 pp. request a copy

Finch, D.M., and S. H. Stoleson. 2000. Status, Ecology, and Conservation of the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher. USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, General Technical Report GTR-60. PDF

Finch, D.M., and W. Yong. 2000. Landbird migration in riparian habitats of the Middle Rio Grande: A case study. Studies in Avian Biology 20:88-98. PDF

Kelly, J.F., V. Atudorei, Z.D. Sharp, and D.M. Finch. 2002. Insights into Wilson's Warbler migration from analyses of hydrogen stable-istope ratios. Oecologia (2002) 130:216221.PDF

Southwestern Willow Flycatcher Recovery Team. 2002. Final Recovery Plan of the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus). Region 2, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Albuquerque, NM. PDF

Stoleson, S.; Finch, D. 2003. Microhabitat use by breeding southwestern willow flycatcher on the Gila River, New Mexico. Stud. Avian Biol. 26:91-95.

Skagen, S., Kelly, J., Van Riper, C., Hutto, R., Finch, D. & others. 2005. Geography of Spring Landbird Migration Through Riparian Habitats in Southwestern North America. Condor 107:212-227.PDF

Finch, D., ed. 2005-6. Assessment of grassland ecosystem conditions in the American Southwest. RMRS-GTR-135. V.1, 2. US Forest Service, RMRS, Ogden, UT. Volume 1 Volume 2

Finch, D. M.; Galloway, J.; Hawksworth, D.. 2006. Monitoring Bird Populations in Relation to Fuel Loads and Fuel Treatments in Riparian Woodlands with Tamarisk and Russian Olive Understories. In: Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: USDA, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 113-120. PDF

Smith, M., J. Kelly, D. Finch. 2006. Cicada emergence in southwestern riparian forest: Influences of wildfire and vegetation composition. Ecol. Appl. 16: 1608-1618. PDF

Smith, D. Max; Kelly, Jeffrey F.; Finch, Deborah M. 2006. Influences of disturbance and vegetation on abundance of native and exotic detritivores in a southwestern riparian forest. Environmental Entomology. 35(6): 1525-1531. PDF

Brodhead, Katherine M.; Stoleson, Scott H.; Finch, Deborah M. 2007. Southwestern willow flycatchers (Empidonax traillii extimus) in a grazed landscape: factors influencing brood parasitism. The Auk. 124(4): 1213-1228. PDF

Smith, D. M., J. F. Kelly, and D.M. Finch. 2007. Avian nest box selection and nest success in burned and unburned southwestern riparian forests. J. Wildl. Mgmt. 71: 411-421. PDF

Bateman, Heather L.; Chung-MacCoubrey, Alice; Finch, Deborah M.; Snell, Howard L.; Hawksworth, David L. 2008. Impacts of non-native plant removal on vertebrates along the Middle Rio Grande (New Mexico). Ecological Restoration. 26(3): 193-195. PDF

Finch, Deborah M. 2008. Rocky Mountain Riparian Digest. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Rocky Mountain Research Station. 24 p. PDF

Finch, D.M. 2008. Pentimento: Fuels Reduction and Restoration in the Bosque of the Middle Rio Grande. Fire Science Brief Issue 7:1-6. Joint Fire Science Program. PDF

Finch, Deborah M.; Dold, Catherine, eds. 2008. Middle Rio Grande Basin Research Report 2008. Albuquerque, NM: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Middle Rio Grande Ecosystem Management Research Unit. 20 p. PDF

a more complete list of my publications is availablble from FSINFO

Last Modified: November 01 2010