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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dark-eyed Junco

Dark-eyed Juncos are migrating through our property. Where we are in NH, some stay for the winter, but not as many as stayed at our home in MA, when we lived there. Many go much further south to winter. One of the things we find interesting about juncos, in addition to the fact they are called "snow birds" because of their 'dark skies above, snow below' coloring, is the fact they return to the same wintering areas each year. There, the flock stays in an area of about ten to twelve acres. They have very interesting flock behavior that you can look for at your bird feeder.

Not all juncos look like our one pictured above, called the "slate-colored form", which breeds in the eastern U.S. and Canada. In other areas of the country there are different forms. The "oregon junco" breeds in the western part of the country. The "gray-headed junco" breeds in the central Rocky Mountains. The "white-winged junco" breeds close to the Black Hills of South Dakota. The "pink-sided junco" breeds in the northern Rockies and the "red-backed junco" breeds in the Southwest. They are all, however, considered one species — the Dark-eyed Junco. Look for these engaging little birds at your feeders this winter.

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