Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Juncos Are Back!

Getting ready to leave for work this morning, I happened to glance out the big window at the ten or so feeders I’ve had up, full and basically untouched for a month. Every single feeder had birds on it! It’s like someone opened the floodgates and let it pour; I’m so happy! Yes, I was late to work. Uh…my name is Beverly and I’m a bird-watcher.

I watched several Juncos on the ground (Oregon variety), dozens of Pine Siskins and some American and Lesser Goldfinch, too. And all three color-variations of House Finch (yellow, orange and red).

I also watched a streaky, rich-brown bird…small and sparrow like on the ground, in the bushes and (oddly) flying up under the eves of the old barn out back…clinging to places underneath. I am familiar with House Sparrows…and have them in my yard (though thankfully not like the hordes I see about town); these are not the same. Of course, they could be ‘young’ HOSP…perhaps they lack the black chins and throat and the brilliant white cheeks. Still, these birds looked sparrow-like but a rich, deep, streaky brown with a grayish head, lighter bellies, also streaked. I’m thinking I might have Fox Sparrows! I’ll watch them a bit longer before I decide…

While perusing Wiki, I discovered that, while not this time, I've likely had a similar-looking bird (to my eye) in my yard; a Song Sparrow. I remember thinking that the bird looked a lot like a chipmunk...with that same adorable, brown-stripped head. This will take closer study! But ya'll know I like that. LOL

Photos from Wikipedia


Kitt said...

Sweet! I love juncos. They look so tidy.

Do you ever get cedar waxwings? If you have any kind of berry bushes you might. I've seen them here in Denver on occasion.

RuthieJ said...

A few years ago (when I worked at another job for a "mom & pop" business), I was late to work because I was trying to rescue a chilled hummingbird early one fall morning. I finally got there about 15 minutes late and they had been all ready to come out and look for me thinking I had been in an accident or something. Your post today reminded me of that--not sure whether bosses and co-workers understand, but a sister birder certainly does! Glad you finally got some birds stopping by.

Beverly said...

Awwww, thanks Ruthie! By the way, I enjoyed perusing your site; you have some really nice shots of birds at your feeders in use! Yes, I'm a happy-camper that mine are back! Thanks!

Bosque Bill said...

Fox sparrows, in my experience, are strictly ground feeders and keep to the understory.

I'm not saying this is what you have (because they are not streaky,) but the only birds I've seen around here that fly up under the eaves are Bewick's wrens looking for spiders and other yummy treats.

The variation in Song Sparrows is tremendous. I saw one just today at the Rio Grande Nature Center

Anonymous said...

Just got back from being gone for 2 weeks. I had seen some juncos before I left but not often. I missed my birds so much while I was gone. I think I may have had a junco check things out late this afternoon, but it was gone before I could get a good look at it. The mountain chickadees are showing up here more often now!

Beverly said...

Hey Debbie, welcome home! Didn’t you say you were going to Florida or somewhere warm? Did you get to see any unusual birds there?

Yeah, I missed my birds too…they seemed to have evaporated there for awhile! I’ve heard there is sometimes a ‘lull’ between the fall migration and the arrival of winter birds. Perhaps I’m getting the most northern birds that are only just arriving; I dunno…but it’s like someone turned on the faucet; they’re flooding in. Yesterday I had nearly 50 birds in my yard before I went to work and large thistle feeders were down nearly half when I got home (in the dark).

Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

We went to PA and GA and visited our sons and other family. I really didn't get a chance to do as much birdwatching at all which was disappointing. I thought I spotted a cedar waxwing but since I didn't have my binocs with me, I wasn't really certain. Saw a lot of hawks, but I'm not sure what kind they were. I'm working my way thru the "Finding Your Wings" book and learning more and more. Wish I could do the Nunn Guy's birdwatching this weekend to learn from him, but can't get down there.

Beverly said...

Yeah, it would be fun to meet a bunch of the folks from the Nunn’s group, wouldn’t it? I can’t make it either…most those folks are just too far north for me on a day-trip.

My friend Polly lives in the same town I do (she’s on the Nunn thang, too); we may go up to Pueblo Reservoir this weekend…she said there’s a Red-throated Loon that’s been spotted there. That would be cool to see!

Lisa said...

Hmm, I think we have juncos here in the winter, too, at least Dark-eyed Juncos, but I haven't seen any yet. But, I'll keep an eye out for them.

I just refilled our feeders, so maybe we'll have some new visitors.

Beverly said...

Yeah, while they spend the summer breeding-season in Alaska and Northern Canada, most come down and spread all across the US for the winter. In fact, they are often called ‘The Winter Bird’ because that’s the only time we see them.

But they’re ground feeders and generally feed UNDER the feeders. They’ll feed from a flat-bed feeder, if it’s not too high, too. My back door is double-paned glass; I enjoy tossing handfuls of feed out the door and watching the pretty little things feed just a couple feet from where I sit.

I used to think I had a lot of different birds…but discovered there are 5-6 color variations of the Dark-eyed Junco: Oregon, Slate, Pink-sided, Grey-headed, Red-backed and White-winged. Wild, huh?

Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

I've had juncos visit and I also throw seeds out on my balcony for them. Just haven't seen them in a while. I had one with a bum leg visit. I don't know if they have moved on to lower elevations now that we've started getting snow.