Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hunting Dark-eyed Juncos

 It's the time of the year that Dark-eyed Juncos take on a greater importance.
 Yesterday and today, I was able to locate several large flocks of juncos. Why is this so special? Well, it is known that vagrants often attach themselves to flocks of other birds.
 With a flock of 40 to 50 juncos and a few chickadees thrown in for good measures, it is very difficult to scan them all. Keen and vigilant, I typically attempt to scan the large group in a left to right fashion. This system often fails as more and more juncos fly into the flock.
Looking for any signs of yellow or brown, it seems an impossible task. Yet, on occasion, a rare bird does surface. Finding one rare bird sometimes leads to finding others as birders flock to the area and conduct a more extensive search. All of this is not to diminish the value of the very likable junco. As the breeding birds retreat to warmer grounds, the junco will be one of the nicest mainstays in this province's winter birding routine.

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