Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Snowbirds Begin To Arrive

We are starting to see reports of Dark-eyed Juncos showing up in parts of central Minnesota. This is the harbinger of winter for me and signals that migration will be slowing down over the next month.

I like Juncos.

This is one of the species that keeps us going at the banding station in January and February when it's cold and snowy outside. However, the Juncos that are here now won't be the ones we see in December. From our banding we know that these early movers will keep on going. One female we banded at Ritter Farm in early October one year was recovered 2 years later in December near Stillwater, Oklahoma. Quite the well traveled little lady. I marvel at the idea of these small birds flying thousands of miles every year yet ending up in the same exact small wintering habitat where we catch them. It's not uncommon for us to catch banded Juncos and American Tree Sparrows almost a year to the day and in the same net we caught them in the previous year. GPS has nothing on these guys!

So here's to the season of shorter daylight, colder winds and shoveling snow as a main source of exercise. Bon Iver.


cindyzlogic said...

I live down in SC Kansas and I love the Juncos as well. I have not seen any yet and can't wait.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Roger,
Saw the first dark-eyed junco in my rural Rochester backyard on Tuesday of this week. And yesterday at suppertime, I spotted a female hummingbird still hanging around and braving the rains.