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Oct 17, 2014

Juncos returned this week

Photo by BarrytheBirder
Dark-eyed (Slate-coloured) JUNCO
Junco hyemalis

My wife, Linda, spotted the first returning Junco in our backyard on Monday of this week.   It seemed early to me, but I don't keep these kinds of records.   I'm sure however that the Juncos know better than I when the time is right to move south.   Actually we live in a part of North America that hosts juncos year-round, but in our specific area (just north of Lake Ontario) the Juncos to migrate slightly further north in summer and return to us in King City for the winter.   There are several different versions of this 6" sparrow-type bird and they were once said to constitute several distinct species but my Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds says that the different forms are now considered one species: Junco hyemalis.   My Stokes Field Guide to Birds says "Flocks return to same areas each winter.   They are fixed in membership and have a hierarchy.   Aggression at feeders is expression of dominance".

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