Nov 11 2008


Published by at 7:01 am under Migration,Songbirds

Though a few dark-eyed juncos have been in Pittsburgh since late October, the flocks showed up in force last weekend.  When they arrive I always think of this poem by William Stafford.

During the breeding season juncos prefer colder climates.  They breed in Canada and New England into northern Pennsylvania and the Appalachian mountains.  Habitat is everything.  That's why they're found on Laurel Mountain in the summer.

Interestingly, eastern Massachusetts doesn't have the right habitat for them to breed.  So it's from my Boston friends that I learned juncos are called "snowbirds" because they arrive with the first snow.

Juncos aren't the only snowbirds on the move.  Chuck and Joan Tague left town last weekend to spend the winter in Florida.  Chuck supplies most of the photos on my blog, so I'm hoping my stay-at-home friends will supply me with a few pictures of Pennsylvania's winter birds.  Thus, this photo is by...

(photo by Marcy Cunkelman)

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Snowbirds”

  1. Marjorieon 11 Nov 2008 at 10:05 pm

    I love these little birds. Last year I was fortunate enough to capture a few shots of one or two on the end of a full and very green pine branch and they also look cool if there’s a very bright and red cardinal nearby–nice contrast. Just got a few shots of a male and female last week at Crooked Creek. There were at least quite a few (more than 18) in just 2 bushes overlooking the lake and more near one of the parking lots/pavilions.
    That’s a very sweet photo that Marcy took, kind of quizzical or coy…as if it’s studying the person taking its picture.

  2. Marcy Cunkelmanon 12 Nov 2008 at 5:08 pm

    I loved this photo after I took it from inside the house outside MY (livingroom) window…I have several feeders (including 2 window feeders-one on the outside of the window and the other comes inside the window), plus another feeder I hang off of hook on the deck…these are all filled will sunflower chips, so I don’t have sunflower hulls all over the deck. It’s a great draw for birds and I even had Cooper’s and Sharp-shin Hawks sitting on the deck railing chasing birds….thankfully there is a lot of cover for the little birds to hide in.

    It’s about time to get the “winter brushpile” made too for more cover for the birds and also for the food.

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