Sunday, March 13, 2011

"Oregon" Junco Visits Minnesota

I love when birding is as easy as looking out the window from my rocking chair (boy does that make me sound old). It's doubly fun when something unusual shows up like it did this morning.

This "Oregon" race individual of the Dark-eyed Junco has been visiting my feeders off and on most of the winter. I've been trying to get a good photo of it but hadn't any luck until this morning. Interestingly, my backyard hasn't been very busy all winter. With all the snow cover we have I thought I'd have more of a concentration of birds taking advantage of the free meals.

I have heard the Juncos starting to sing as they chase each other around the pine trees in my yard. The American Goldfinches are starting to show some yellow molting in and the Great Horned Owl nest I've been watching has young as of this week. On the other hand, all the reports I've been hearing from just south of us makes me expect to see some Red-winged Blackbirds, Grackles and maybe even a Killdeer any day now. I'm surprised they're not here yet.
A warm front is predicted for the middle of the week so it may be time to put on the boots and slosh through some trails and see what's around.


Rick said...

Beautiful photos of a really beautiful bird! Just to point out one little matter of terminology: Oregon Junco is not a race but a g r o u p of similar races, a so-called subspecies group. The bird in the photo is actually not identifiable to race.
Thanks for letting us see the great image!

Pete said...

I don't see observations from you in eBird? ( from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology) Why not? Am I missing what you've contributed? It's the best place to share what you are seeing.

Minnesota Birdnerd said...

I love when I can learn something that will make me sound smarter in the future. Rick, is right. The "Oregon" variety of Junco is actually a group of recognized subspecies. Now I wish it was warm enough to put out nets so I could catch this guy and see if I could figure out subspecies.
Thanks Rick!

carolyn said...

I am a real amateur, but have a feeder platform on our window. I was excited to recognize a junco that was definitely different from the usual junco. I drew a pic of it but did not find it in my birdbooks. Looked for "juncos in MN" on the internet and found your blog right away. Thanks.