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Posts Tagged ‘Dark-eyed Junco’

Most sparrows are brown in color, but as winter approaches slate-colored  Dark-eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis) move into our area from locations farther north. This past Friday I spotted a small flock of juncos at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge poking about on the ground and low in the trees and managed to capture a few clear shots of juncos.

The second shot shows quite clearly the color pattern that I generally associate with juncos—mostly gray with a white belly. On the west coast of the US, however, juncos have a dark brown hood, light brown back, and a white belly.

 

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Junco

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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This past Friday I spotted a Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis), one of the birds that is present in my area only during the winter months. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology there is a huge range of geographic variation in the Dark-eyed Junco, with five variants of the bird considered separate species until the 1980s.

The bird in the photo below is a “slate-colored junco,” the only type that I have ever seen. Variants found in other parts of the United States, however, may have white wings, pink sides, red backs, gray heads, or a dark hood. Yikes—bird identification is hard enough under normal circumstances, but with that much variation, it seems almost impossible.

Dark-eyed Junco

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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One of the cute little birds that I saw in the snow in my neighborhood earlier this week was this Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis). I can’t help but smile at the bird’s pose, which gives the image a really whimsical,almost cartoonish feel.

Dark-eyed Junco

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Looking at the birds in the trees in my neighborhood this past week, I spotted a dark-colored bird that I could not identify (and had never seen before). I managed to get some clear shots and have been looking at identification guides on the internet and have tentatively identified it as a Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis), though I must confess that I don’t feel really confident about my identification.

What do you think? I’d welcome any assistance that more experienced birders could provide in identifying this little bird.

Dark-eyed JuncoDark-eyed Junco

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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