My older son learned a lot about birds last year at school. In the early spring we get a lot of migrating birds visiting our yard. On one of these days there were robins EVERYWHERE. They were busy hopping around looking for food in our front and backyards. There had to be at least 50 of them. That’s when my son chimed in, “Dad- look, there’s a dark-eyed junco!” I was impressed- not only did he know what the bird was, but he was able to spot it among all of those robins.
That’s one beautiful thing about Dark-Eyed Juncos- they are hard to mistake for another bird. I took this one’s picture near Mt. St. Helens where our family visited this weekend (stay tuned later in the week for some great photos and posts from our trip!), but we have them around the yard all the time. I’m proud to say this is an Oregon variety, though it is actually common throughout the West.
Juncos migrate south. Females go the farthest south, followed by older males. Younger males actually don’t go quite as far. According to The National Audubon Society’s The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior, the young males probably stay farther north in order to return quicker in the spring to try to find a good territory.