Ecologist David Inouye studies wildflowers at Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory near Crested Butte.

(Photo: Courtesy of Martha Inouye)

University of Maryland ecologist David Inouye says wildflower season in the Colorado mountains is getting longer. 
While that may be good for viewing, it has broader implications for the birds and the bees that dine on flower nectar and are pollinators for the flowers.
“There are now flowers that are blooming before the pollinators are around so the flowers aren’t getting pollinated,” he says.

Wildflowers bloom near Crested Butte.

CPR News/Anna Hanel

He adds that when the flowers bud earlier the blossoms may be killed by frosts, so the food source for these pollinators is diminished.
Inouye has been doing reasearch at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory near Crested Butte for some 40 years. He's monitored patches of  wildflowers there for decades. He says that although there’s a lot of variation from year to year, the trend is that growing season getting longer and the blooming periods are changing.