Project Chekov: Junco

It’s been all about deconstructing Xmas around here as of late.  The 13′ tree went down today along with most of the interior decorations.  Not sure which is more work, running a half marathon or hauling all the boxes up and down the stairs!  The good news for me is today’s post is pretty short.  This is mainly due to only having two pictures to show off from our featured bird of the day.  Usually, I have a number of pictures to wade through to find my favorite poses, check for crispness etc.  Not the case with this set, basically processed the entire set of pictures taken of the Dark-Eyed Junco.

We have a lot of these around the house over the Winter months so likely didn’t give them much attention while out in the field.  There are a number of different variations of this particular bird with many regional differences.  I generally do not tend to further classify these birds beyond the standard Dark-Eyed level.  This is the same approach I take to their family as a whole since they are members of the Sparrow family and those are nearly impossible to identify with any certainty.  They Summer in Canada and Winter all across the US.   The Junco is not new to the blog having been introduced twice in 2010 (link here and here).  However, this post probably has the clearest shots of them.

These birds tend to stay on or near the ground foraging for seed and insects (yes) although not sure how many insects are hanging around here in the Winter months (especially with the abundance of snow that has fallen as of late).  Where I see them the most is directly under our feeders foraging for any fallen sunflower seeds.  I always throw a little on the ground to make it easy for them – can’t remember once ever seeing them actually on the feeders themselves.  Chickadees are on the top of the list for least afraid birds around here.  They will hit the feeders as soon as get them cranked up on the pole.  Juncos are second when it comes to boldness.  Whenever I finish filling the feeders I always take about 4 steps back and see which bird is going to be the brave one of the day.  The Chickadee will try some quick test flights in to see if you react at all and then go directly for seed and then proceed to fly off into the nearby trees to eat – they never eat at the feeder.  Juncos will jump out next but forgo the reaction tests.  Juncos do make for a great seasonal Calendar.  When they arrive it is Winter time and you can tell when the Winter is over when you see the last of them at the feeders.  Guessing they flock back to Canada as soon as it’s warm enough for them – that or they just really hate to be around Hummingbirds (they take off about the same time the Hummers arrive).  Not much else to really say about these birds.  Very identifiable in the field, just keep looking near the forest floor – now getting a picture is a pain since they are always jumping around and when they do stop it’s usually in the middle of shrubs and branches making it impossible to get a clean focus.

Looks like our Polar Vortex has retreated – may have to break out the suntan oil!  See you again soon!

2 thoughts on “Project Chekov: Junco”

  1. I’ve never seen a Dark-Eyed Junco, so I’m surprised they’re common. On the other hand, I don’t go out birdwatching in the winter, that’s for sure. So it’s good to learn about a new bird!



  2. You have never seen a Dark-Eyed Junco!?! Wow, they are like everywhere around here during the Winter. Oddly, they only hang out on the ground below our feeders so they can be overlooked if not looking down. Throw some sunflower seed out on your neighbor’s lawn and wait for them to come to you.. or when you go out to get that Snowy Owl make a quick stop in one of your local parks.


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