The Juncos Are Back

Dark-eyed junco, Cape Cod, Dec 2019 (photo by Bob Kroeger)

18 November 2022

This week’s first snow on 15 November brought in the “snowbirds,” an influx of juncos from the north and higher elevations. Kathy Saunders had fifteen at her feeders while it was snowing on Tuesday afternoon.

Our slate-colored juncos look so crisp and clean: Sparrow-like with dark eyes, pink beak, no stripes, charcoal gray head and back and wings, and a white belly — the “clean little coveralls” described in William Stafford’s poem Juncos.

Even though juncos have color variations all the birds with dark eyes are the same species: dark-eyed junco (Junco hyemalis).

This vintage blog from 2015 lists some of the subspecies, shows off a yellow-eyed junco (different species!) and describes a subspecies hybrid found in Pittsburgh last February.

(photo by Bob Kroeger)

4 thoughts on “The Juncos Are Back

  1. I saw my first junco this morning in my back yard. They are lovely little birds, but I always shiver when the first one arrives. To me, their arrival signals that winter is here.

  2. About 24 juncos today at one little spot in Schenley Park around 1:15pm, a few minutes before we had blizzard conditions. Snow birds! Fortunately the snow stopped soon.

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