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Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)

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Birdwatching 103

One of the easiest ways to keep a finger on the pulse of the seasons is to keep an eye on the birds. When do the Dark-eyed Juncos (like this one) return from the mountains, ready to pick up at the birdfeeder where they left off last year? When do migratory Canada Geese fly over on an autumn... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching

Return of the Snowbird

You may see Dark-eyed Juncos in the summer, but come fall, many more — those that have been nesting in the mountains or farther north — arrive to spend the winter. These juncos often visit birdfeeders for winter feasting. Dark-eyed Juncos forage on the ground. The flash of white tail-feathers... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Dark-eyed Junco Pair

A female Dark-eyed Junco lands on a branch nearby, where you can admire her subtle beauty. The muted colors of her feathers. Her nearly weightless buoyancy. Her quick, bright eyes. Her tidy pink bill. Often in winter, you may see a "Slate-colored" Junco or an "Oregon" Junco. In spring, this... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  reflection

Bird Sound Types and Qualities Part I

Since it’s often hard to see a bird, veteran birders characterize the sounds of birds in order to identify them. So what words do they use? Well, they use “whistle,” for example, to describe the sound of this Olive-sided Flycatcher. And "rattle" for that of the Belted Kingfisher. There's the... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birdwatching by ear, sound

Suburbs, Juncos, and Evolution

Birds have been living near humans for millions of years. But only during the past 5,000 years have birds and humans shared space in cities and towns. “What we’ve done is create a new place where birds are under intense natural selection — from our activities,” says John Marzluff, Professor of... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction

Eau de Junco

It’s junco season in North America. Flocks of these white-bellied snowbirds are kicking and scratching on woodland edges and beneath feeders from southern Canada to Mexico. On warm winter days, the males may even break into song. But songs and calls aren’t the only way Dark-eyed Juncos... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  plumage
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