Monday, March 5, 2012

Dark-Eyed Slate-Coloured Juncos - Regina Backyard Guests

Dark-eyed Juncos flit through our yard in winter. On a non-scientific basis (i.e., when I happen to be by the dining room window and I'm lucky enough to see them), I'd say they've shown up four or five times so far this season. Factor in the fact that I'm away most of the day and rarely at that window when I'm home, and (if you're good at this kind of analysis), you might have a clearer sense than I do of how frequent their visits really are.

I think these Dark-eyed Juncos are stunning. Seriously formal in their colours, and so beautifully distinctly different when seen from  above or below. Gray on white on gray on white on gray on white... Beats the mottled colours of the regular sparrows (about the same size, and my most common feeder guest) any time. I think... Right now, at least, looking at their photos, I think that... But then again, I really like House Sparrows...

In any case, judge for yourself — aren't they lovely?

Dark-Eyed Junco waiting for seeds. © SB

Dark-Eyed Junco at the suet feeder. © SB

Cornell's All About Birds website has photos of two main kinds of Dark-Eyed Juncos. The birds in my yard fall into the Slate Coloured branch of that family tree. It's not uncommon, according to the pictures on that site, for their gray back feathers to be mixed with brown — especially with females.

AAB says Juncos are sparrows, distinguished by their colouring especially the flash of white tail feathers in flight. They breed in deciduous or mixed forests, and winter in fields, parks, roadsides, and backyards across the country. They are a very common bird at feeders; if you're interested in their songs, there are audio files at the Cornell site.

What are these? Dark-Eyed Slate Coloured Juncos.   
Location: My backyard bird feeder, Regina,Saskatchewan.  
Photo dates: December 30, 2011


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