Thursday, April 11, 2013

Junco - A Woodland Snowbird

Dark-eyed Junco

A dark-eyed junco is perched on an evergreen branch during a spring snowstorm. A year-round resident in Colorado, they are also sometimes called snowbirds because of their sudden, histrionic appearance below winter bird feeders. When it gets really cold, we see them mixed in with other small, seed-eating birds such as chickadees and nuthatches.

Dark-eyed juncos are uncommon sparrows because they spend so much time on the ground. They nest on the forest floor and hop around the bases of trees and shrubs searching for fallen seeds. When flushed, their distinctive, bright-white tail feathers are flashed during takeoff. Juncos also have a unique call that is described by a Mrs. Lawrence in a note to famous ornithologist Arthur Cleveland Bent:

"The lovely tinkling chorus by the juncos in early spring, as if a myriad of woodland sprites were shaking little bells in an intensive competition."

14 comments:

  1. i adore your forest wonderland of photos!
    fawn is my fave so far
    but junco! awesome name!

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    1. Thanks, most of the photos are taken from right around here in the forest wonderland. I think the picture of the fawn is also my favorite.

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  2. How lovely to have that forest land around you! And a lovely photo too. I loved the words of Mrs Lawrence describing the junco's chirp? tweet?
    Susan Scott's Soul Stuff

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    1. Thanks,

      I found that quote and had to get it into the post because it so accurately describes their constant chatter.

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  3. Lovely description of the junco's call. I bet they're fun to watch.

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    1. We see them here all year round, they are very loud and boisterous around the feeders.

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  4. Lovely photo. The greens are just beautiful.

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    1. Thanks, I took that picture during one of our spring snowstorms.

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  5. What a cute little bird. So enjoying watching your local wildlife. Inspires me to go photograph some of my own. (Well, if it wasn't dark that is.)

    Rinelle Grey

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    1. Thanks, for the nice comments. It sounds like you have lots of local wildlife where you're at. The animals in Australia seem so exotic compared to what we have in Colorado.

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  6. What a lovely photo. Looks just as cold as my region, but so much more serene. Liked your junco post!

    John at The Bathroom Monologues

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    1. Thanks John, spring is our snowiest month. We get heavy wet snow and the birds go crazy looking for food. It's not the best photo but it's a good expression of our so-called snowbird.

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  7. I love juncos - I actually see them a lot in my yard but the little buggers fly off as soon as I step out on the deck to take a photo! one of these days I'll get a photo! Love yours!

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    1. I think they're the second most common bird in the U.S. behind the robin. I know they are very active on the east coast. I like them because they're here all year round. If it wasn't for them it would be very quiet here in the winter and I wouldn't like that because I like listening to the bird songs.

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