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Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's Officially Winter Now - The Snowbirds Have Arrived

We all see and enjoy the beautiful fall colors and feel the relief of cooler air that fall brings. It's a short lived introduction to the season we all know arrives next. But to me, nothing introduces the winter season more than the arrival of the Dark-eyed Junco. In my house these birds were, and still are, referred to as "snowbirds". I guess they got this nickname for their knack of showing up just before the first snowfall - or in my area, the first cold spell.

IMG_0742a

I'm always excited to see my first Juncos of the season and this weekend was it! I spotted them foraging under my bird feeders.

Juncos are ground feeders that tend to stay together in small flocks. They vary in color across the country, but in general they’re dark gray or brownish birds. When they take flight, they can be easily identified by the two white stripes on their outer tail feathers.

In my own yard, I've noticed that these birds like to hang close to ground cover - like shrubs or small trees. These birds would benefit well by providing them with a homemade brush pile for winter protection. I'll post more about that later...

Have a great week everyone and be sure to check out more bird photography over at Birdfreak.com!

14 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Great post and photo on the Junco. They are pretty birds. I have been seeing them the last couple of weeks in my yard now.

Larry said...

Hey Alan, it looks like you get the "Slate-colored" variety where you are and they come right up to your porch? We get the "Oregon" variety and right now, they are everywhere! If we're lucky, we see the occasional slate-colored Junco mixed in with the Oregons.

The Juncos arrive about the same time as the Spotted Towhees and the White-crowned and Golden-crowned Sparrows.

Janet said...

Haven't seen any Juncos yet, will have to keep my eyes peeled.
How did you fare with the storm?

mick said...

Very interesting little bird - but I am not sure I would like the idea that all the cold weather is about to arrive. I like tropical warmth too much!

Neil said...

Great photo

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

How interesting that you see them just in the winter. They are here year round, but I have noticed a lot more of them the last couple of weeks.

Kelly said...

...I love these little birds. Ours arrived about three weeks ago. They always seem so cheerful...

dAwN said...

Howdee Alan.
Welcome to your snowbirds..

NicoleB said...

What a Beauty!
I do envy you a tiny bit for your signs of season :)

Mary Delle said...

Yes, they are the winter birds here, along with the White-crowned sparrow. I've already seen the junco, but we have the Oregon variety here in So California. Great photo!!

Lee and Beth said...

Ha Ha, when I read your title I thought it was going to be about old people in motor homes! :)

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Angie said...

Aren't they sweet birds? Unlike you, we have Juncos here all year where I live in Wisconsin. I find they like ground feeders better than feeders that are off of the ground as they are pretty timid and love to run for cover under quickly. We have the slate colored Juncos and I've never seen the Oregon Junco like Larry mentioned. Glad to see you are posting on your blog again!