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365 urban species: #012 Dark-eyed Junco

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Urban Species #012: Dark-eyed junco Junco hyemalis

The junco is a distinctively colored sparrow, although its distinct coloration varies from place to place. (Pictured is the eastern variety, the slate-colored junco.) In fact, the various local color types used to be considered different species, but now they are all considered one. Juncos are notable for migrating south to northern cities like Boston for the winter, spending summer in Canada and Alaska. They are also known as "snowbirds," as their arrival comes at about the same time as snowy weather. Juncos are most often seen below birdfeeders, gleaning the seed that the messy chickadees and titmice have spilled to the ground. Their high whispered whistle is easy to recognize, as are their white outermost tail feathers, seen in flight.


photo by cottonmanifesto

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
harebell
Jan. 13th, 2006 02:21 pm (UTC)
My favorite of little birds. They make me cry.
When we lived in the mountains, I would wake up every morning to their cheeps. I especially liked them in winter. The way they scoot around in the snow for food... and their pink beaks and tongues.
ex_adarog
Sep. 29th, 2006 02:07 pm (UTC)
These pictures make me miss the apartment we moved out of in July. Our previous apartment had a small back yard that we used, with a tree and a patch of garden, and two out of the three winters we were there, I saw juncos all winter long. I tossed out leftovers from my two cockatiels' food, and the juncos partook along with the house sparrows and mourning doves. They will no doubt pass through our neighborhood this winter, but I doubt I'll see so much of them. *sigh* (I am in Baltimore, by the way.)
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