Saturday, September 24, 2011
Dark-eyed Junco - Juvenile
I found it very interesting that the young of the species are less apt to stay among their own. The juncos would fly around and "play" with the A. Goldfinch, Purple Finch and Pine Siskins. They chased each other around the yard like old friends. I observed similar behaviour among a group of adult Dark-eyed Juncos yesterday that had a Ruby-crowned Kinglet among them. It, too, was chasing and mingling very nicely.
I read this week that many ground feeding birds have white outer tail feathers and that this is an adaptation over time. When one flees from danger, the white flashes boldly sending warning signals to the others birds around. This must be particularly useful when the neighbor's cat hides under my giant Hostas.
Since July the juvenile juncos have undergone several stages of change as they transition into their mature plumage. The warm browns, streaks and "buffy" colors are being replaced by dark gray and darker brown colors with a stand-out white belly. These birds are among a group of birds often referred to as Snowbirds and they will be around all winter. Just this week I noticed the flock in my yard is beginning to grow again as the numbers of finches diminish. I topped my my feeders with their favorite mix and welcome them home.